UAE Banks Federation confirms sector’s strength, ability to continue growing

UAE Banks Federation confirms sector’s strength, ability to continue growing

ABU DHABI, 12th December 2022 (WAM) -- Chairman of the UAE Banks Federation, Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, said that the UAE banking and financial sector has successfully addressed the numerous geopolitical and economic developments and changes that over the recent years have posed challenges to the global economy.

He made the statements as he addressed the fourth meeting held by the CEOs of the Advisory Council of UAE Banks Federation on the 29th of November under his chairmanship.

The meeting discussed the latest developments in the banking and finance sector locally and globally, followed up on the implementation of the decisions taken at the last meeting in September, and discussed the Federation’s plans for 2023.

“The world has witnessed numerous geopolitical and economic developments and changes in recent years that have posed challenges to every economic sector. Under the direct supervision of the Central Bank of the UAE, the UAE banking and financial sector has been able to demonstrate its resilience in dealing with these challenges and has continued to provide the best services to customers and play its role in creating appropriate conditions for achieving economic and social development, while adhering to international standards in governance and risk management,” Al Ghurair said.

During the meeting, all participants commended the close and fruitful collaboration with strategic partners, particularly the Central Bank of the UAE, the Securities and Commodities Authority and the Ministry of Justice, in adopting and implementing regulations, policies and best practices that help maintain and enhance the leading position of the financial and banking sector in the UAE in line with the country’s direction and international regulations.

The meeting also reviewed the final report of the Cyber Wargames exercise, organised by the Federation under the supervision of the Central Bank of the UAE in October. The event, one of the region’s largest banking cybersecurity exercises, was attended by several cybersecurity experts from banks and financial institutions and hosted representatives of GCC central banks as observers.

The report explained the role of Cyber Wargames in improving the identification, detection and response to cyberattacks, as the event provided knowledge on techniques, methods and procedures commonly used by attackers, as well as the factors that constitute a source of threat. The Council commended the broad participation of the heads and members of information and cybersecurity teams from member banks and financial institutions, which contributed to the sharing of experience and knowledge and enhanced the readiness of the banking sector in the UAE against cyberattacks.

The CEOs Advisory Council called for continued efforts to protect the banking sector’s digital infrastructure and safeguard it against cyberattacks, financial crimes and advanced fraud methods in light of the increasing transactions in e-commerce, digital banking services and apps.

The Council welcomed three new members, including International Development Bank, “Wio” Bank and Zand Bank to UAE Banks Federation, noting that more regional banks joining the association contributes to increased economic cooperation. Meanwhile, having digital banks as members will broaden the range of services and reinforce the sector’s leadership in keeping pace with the latest trends in providing financial and banking solutions.

On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of UAE Banks Federation, participants at the CEOs Advisory Council meeting stressed the importance of continuing efforts and initiatives to develop the sector and praised the constant support of the Central Bank of the UAE through the development of policies and frameworks, that maintain the integrity of the banking system and facilitate the process of providing the best customer service in a secure and reliable banking environment. In addition, the Council appreciated the support of the Federation in providing the necessary framework for the exchange of views and experiences and strengthening cooperation among its members to achieve goals of common interests and follow best practices and standards for governance and transparency.

The council members also discussed ways to benefit from the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between UAE Banks Federation with the Uzbekistan Banking Association. The aim is to strengthen cooperation and exchange of experiences to develop and expand relations between the financial and banking institutions of the two countries, promote trade and economic cooperation, and organise various banking activities such as workshops and training programmes.

Furthermore, the Advisory Council discussed the latest developments in promoting Emiratisation in the private and banking sector, which will help support efforts to increase Emiratisation in the industry and motivate more Emiratis to work in this sector, which offers many opportunities.

Jamal Saleh, Director General of UBF, said, “The banking sector in the UAE has achieved many successes this year, and various indicators such as growing assets, increased financing, and enhanced capital adequacy ratios reflect the sector’s resilience and ability to adapt to changes in the world

He added, “The Advisory Council plays an important role in enabling UAE Banks Federation executive management to fulfil its mission based on the extensive experience and knowledge of UBF members. We will continue our initiatives to strengthen UBF’s role in developing the UAE financial and banking sector through accelerating the pace and quality of Emiratisation, supporting small and medium enterprises, training professionals, especially the young Emiratis, as well as combating fraud and promoting ethical selling as part of the continuous efforts to provide the best conditions for all stakeholders in the banking sector.”

The CEOs Advisory Council, established 10 years ago, comprises 22 CEOs and general managers of banks and financial institutions operating in the UAE. The Council is an advisory platform characterised by discussing relevant issues and making decisions in the interest of the Federation, the UAE economy, the banking community, and customers.