UBFCEOs Advisory Council agrees on SMEs Support Initiative
The CEO Advisory Council of the UAE Banks Federation (UBF) has held its first meeting for 2016 chaired by the Chairman of the Federation HE AbdulAziz Al Ghurair.Top of the Council’s agenda was UBF plan to support Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The Advisory Council agreedon a planto support and alleviate pressure on SMEs facingdifficulties repaying bank loans. The plan,developed by the Federation in late 2015, creates a framework whereby an SME with multi-bank relationships which is experiencingrepayment difficultiesenters a process whereby the lending banks co-ordinate their position and work to assist the company in restructuring its future repayments. The plan includes the availability of an interim suspension of payment and the creation of a conciliation role to assist all parties to reach agreement.
H.EAbdulAziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the UBF, commented: “As we face a more challenging period for the banking industry it is important for us to focus on areas where we can improve our performance. Lending to SMEs is a high priority for us and we have agreed now on a plan which will definitely be a win: win for all involved. This again reflects banks commitment to apply a co-ordinated approach, to alleviate SME funding difficulties and continue banks support to the SME sector being vital to the national economy. I congratulate the SME and Wholesale Committees for their exceptional efforts to bring this important project to this stage so quickly”
The Council also discussed the lifting of sanctions against Iran. A presentation was given to the meeting by WaheedRathore, Chairman of the Federation’s Compliance Committee about the ramifications of the likely change in trade and investment flows with Iran and the commitments that have to be met before sanctions are formally lifted.
Another topic on the Council’s agenda was the decriminalisation of issuingcheques against accounts without sufficient funds to honour them. DrNimerBasbous, Chairman of the Federation’s Legal Committeebriefed CEOs on the main scenarios which could reduce the number of legal cases ensuing, some of which lead to the imprisonment of offenders, and which may pave the way for decriminalization of checks. These include, among other, the introduction of a bankruptcy law in the UAE, the creation of an assets registry law, and the establishment of specialized commercial courts.
Additionally, BassemItani, Chairman of Risk Management Committee,briefed CEOson the common practice pursued with write off policies and reporting standards in line with regulatory requirements and international financial reporting and accounting standards.
Finally, the Council shortlisted key and high priority topics for consideration to discuss in the coming period.