Peter England, CEO, National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah: Interview

Peter England, CEO, National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah

Interview: Peter England

In what ways has the establishment of Al Etihad Credit Bureau benefitted the sector as a whole?

PETER ENGLAND: The establishment of Al Etihad Credit Bureau is a step in the right direction towards a more transparent credit environment. While the bureau will not do away with each bank’s independent assessment tools for loan applications, it will ensure that banks have all the information they need to make accurate lending decisions. Moreover, customers with good credit standing will be able to benefit from more competitive rates on their loans.

To what extent would the creation of a centralised Islamic finance board contribute to sector growth?

ENGLAND: The establishment of a centralised Islamic finance board will ensure greater consistency in the interpretation of sharia legal provisions and governance. This will help new and existing businesses grow, as well as ensure better customer understanding both locally and internationally. How could authorities assist banks to lend to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)?

To what extent would a loan guarantee resolve this issue?

ENGLAND: The government is very supportive of the growth of the SME sector, in line with its goal to ensure that this sector’s contribution to non-oil GDP reaches 70% by 2021. The cabinet recently endorsed a National Programme for SMEs under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economy to boost the performance of SMEs. In addition to this, the Emirates Development Bank has announced a credit guarantee plan alongside other banks for Emirati SMEs as well as the owners of small businesses. The UAE moved up the ranks in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” report for 2015, a testament to the government’s ongoing efforts and initiatives. During the first quarter of 2015 the UAE Credit Bureau began issuing credit reports for commercial organisations in the country to help banks make important commercial credit decisions. We look forward to seeing more companies reviewed by the bureau. Continuous government support such as this is the surest way for this segment to grow and thrive.

Given the predominantly retail nature of the RAK market, do value-added services present the best opportunities to enhance revenues in RAK?

ENGLAND: Retail customers are generally looking for a range of financial requirements, including banking and insurance solutions. Therefore, they will appreciate a one-stop shop that can cater to all their financial needs. By branching out into complementary industries like insurance and remittance services, banks can retain their customers by offering a wider product choice and consistent service quality, ultimately enhancing bank revenues.

How would you assess the state of the UAE’s banking sector with regards to online banking security?

ENGLAND: The UAE is one of the most digitally connected countries in the world with an internet penetration rate of close to 90%. Over 70% of residents use smartphones, and according to a study by MasterCard, 83% had made an online purchase in the recent past. As a result of this, it is no wonder that the UAE is a favourite hunting ground of cyber criminals. For instance, a recent survey by Kaspersky showed that as many as 29% of internet users in the UAE have experienced web-based threats.

However, thanks to the Cyber Crime Law of 2012 and subsequent improvements, the UAE has a strong system to tackle financial fraud and identity theft. The UAE Central Bank is also supporting the efforts of local banks to provide secure online banking services. As a leader in UAE retail banking, we use the best security protocols so that our customers can enjoy digital banking services safely.

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The Report: Ras Al Khaimah 2015

Financial Services chapter from The Report: Ras Al Khaimah 2015

The Report: Ras Al Khaimah 2015

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