Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates- 18 November 2022:
UAE Banks Federation, the unified representative and voice of UAE banks, reaffirmed its commitment to continuing efforts and initiatives and enhancing its capabilities to support the banking sector advancement to promote the sustainable and socio-economic growth of the UAE.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary, UAE Banks Federation praised the continuous support and guidance from the Central Bank of the UAE in developing policies and regulatory frameworks to maintain the safety of the banking system. The Federation also expressed its keenness the continuing to extend support to its members to ensure safe and secure banking and best practices.
His Excellency Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of UAE Banks Federation, said, “Since its founding in 1982, the Federation has constituted an effective platform for exchanging ideas and opinions while strengthening cooperation among its members on various issues of interest to the banking and financial sector in the country. In addition, it facilitates coordination and interaction with various stakeholders, enabling innovative solutions, enhancing governance standards and promoting best practices in banking.”
His Excellency added, “The outstanding progress made by the banking sector in the UAE is a source of pride for all of us. At the same time, to maintain the sector’s key role as a driver of economic and social development, we need to enhance our capabilities, especially in this digital age of accelerated change.
To meet this objective, UAE Banks Federation features a comprehensive organisational structure that includes the Board of Directors, advisory and consultative councils, technical committees and executive management, which enables it to respond quickly and effectively to upcoming developments.”
His Excellency further said that the Federation would continue to enhance its capabilities to strengthen the prominent position of the banking sector in achieving the UAE’s economic goals.
Since its establishment four decades ago, UAE Banks Federation has taken many initiatives, including establishing two CEOs councils, 25 specialized technical committees and three advisory committees, providing appropriate channels for the 57 members to share their expertise in different areas of banking. The committees include experts from member banks and financial institutions, who work together on all initiatives and challenges facing the sector. This contributes to the exchange of knowledge and experiences, enhancing their continuous cooperation and developing new solutions.
To keep pace with global trends, UAE Banks Federation, under the guidance of the Central Bank of the UAE and in collaboration with member banks, has developed several initiatives aimed at accelerating digitalization and automation of solutions to facilitate customer access to member banks’ products and services in a faster and more secure manner. Some of these initiatives aim to reduce the use of coins and paper money in transactions. For example, the Federation launched the Emirates Digital Portfolio, recognizing the importance of developing and implementing innovative solutions and contributing to the digital transformation of the banking sector. This has enhanced customer experience and enabled the sector to play an essential role in economic and social development.
It has played a crucial role in strengthening Islamic banking through an initiative to develop the required regulatory framework for the operating environment of these banks in the initial stages.
Given the importance of the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector to the UAE’s GDP and its role in stimulating economic activity and job creation, the Federation has put in place a framework to provide banking solutions that meet the needs of SMEs. It has also launched initiatives to help small and medium enterprises restructure bad loans and provide them with appropriate solutions for tackling challenges.
The Federation also launched the Tasharuq platform in 2017, a first of its kind in the Middle East, to improve electronic security in the banking sector. It collects and analyses industry data to provide member banks with necessary information on cyber threats and mitigation to maintain safety while transacting.
Mr. Jamal Saleh, Director General of UAE Banks Federation, said, “On the occasion of our 40th anniversary, we reaffirm our commitment to building on the strong success of the past four decades under the guidance of the Central Bank of the UAE and its continuous oversight of the sector, as well as our extensive cooperation with all member banks.”
He added: “We set our focus on creating a safe and smooth banking environment to provide the best services and products to our banking customers, to keep pace with international standards in terms of transparency, governance, compliance with local and global laws and regulations, and to develop a competitive business system, as well as to create the appropriate conditions for the talent development, especially of Emirati professionals.”
To this end, the Federation established the first SWIFT training centre in the Middle East and North Africa, a first of its kind outside OECD countries, in 2021 . The aim is to improve the performance of the payments system, the effectiveness and security of the remittance system, and to benefit from the expertise of the members of the global network “SWIFT” in developing the skill set of the country’s banking and financial sector workforce.
The UAE is the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to establish a national group for SWIFT users, and Mr. Jamal Saleh chairs the steering committee for SWIFT users in the country. SWIFT enables more than 11,000 financial institutions in nearly 200 countries worldwide to communicate and exchange financial information in a secure and reliable environment, helping improve financial and commercial exchanges.