The UAE personal finance stories this week that you need to know about in our new weekly digest – Donald Trump back in Dubai for the Akoya by Damac project, UAE AL Etihad credit bureau law approved, Richard Ardolino arrested in Dubai on UK mortgage fraud charges, Amlak resumes buy-to-let mortgages, UAE to relax debt defaulters going to prison on humanitarian grounds, eBay security breach and Indian rupee remittances soaring in UAE.
Trump factor will ‘boost Dubai property prices 50%’
Donald Trump is back, five years after cancelling his Nakheel collaboration, the Trump International Hotel & Tower on the Palm Jumeirah. This time he’s launching a new, self-named golf course and 100-villa project with Damac at Akoya, near the Arabian Ranches – and he says Aberdeen in Scotland has already enjoyed 50 percent rises thanks to his golf project there.
“You saw the Trump effect, I mean it’s over 50 percent. I think you’re going to have a huge Trump factor here. I think it’s going to have a tremendous positive effect. I think it’ll have a spill over beyond this development; I think it’s going to benefit other developments as well.” [Arabian Business]
UAE credit bureau laws approved
The UAE has approved a nationwide credit bureau, Al Etihad, to help banks assess the ability of their clients to pay back debt. Banks are often unable to access data on consumers at other providers and borrowers could run up debts from multiple lenders.
“In the long run it is positive because banks will be able to see if their clients have other credit lines elsewhere,” said Jaap Meijer, a bank analyst at the Dubai-based investment bank Arqaam. “In the short term, however, it may lead to an increase in provisions banks set aside for bad loans if they see their clients have loans elsewhere. Banks, however, would be more willing to give better rates to good clients over time.” [The National]
Mortgage ‘fraudster’ arrested in Dubai
After a two and a half year hunt, Richard Ardolino, 38, who stands accused of conspiring to fraudulently obtain mortgages to buy property in Britain in 2005 to 2007, has been arrested in Dubai after an appeal by the National Crime Agency (NCA). [Reuters]
Amlak resumes mortgages
Amlak Finance is providing buy-to-let mortgages again – but not off plan – after suspending lending back in 2008. It is offering a profit rate of 7.25 percent and a maximum length of 25 years.
Under the first option, Amlak will rent the property on behalf of the mortgagor and adjust the rent received against his/ her equated monthly installment. Under the second option, the mortgagor will have to make a 25 per cent down payment with Amlak providing 75 per cent for completed properties based on applicant’s eligibility. [Emirates 24/7]
UAE debt default prison regulation to be relaxed
In a new UAE draft law, debt defaulters will no longer go to jail if they are: pregnant; a mother with a child under one year old; terminally ill; over 70; widowed or with a partner in jail and with a child under 15; or a minor under 18. The bill still needs to be endorsed into law by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The changes in the Civil Procedure Code were prompted by the UAE’s low ranking in resolving insolvency and enforcing contracts as shown by the World Bank Doing Business 2014. Globally, the UAE stands at 101 in the ranking of 189 economies on the ease of resolving insolvency and it ranks 100 on the ease of enforcing contracts. [Khaleej Times]
Another online security breach – this time eBay
If you’re an international shopper, now’s the time to change your password on eBay; it urgently advised its 145 million customers to change their passwords this week after a massive security breach, just weeks after escaping the Heartbleed bug. The breach actually happened in February into March but eBay only discovered it in early May.
“The impact of the eBay compromise will likely spread beyond just eBay because people often reuse passwords across multiple sites,” Trey Ford, global security strategist at Rapid7, told Mashable. “It’s hard to predict just how serious that might be, and there may be other compromises that happen as a result that are never directly tied back to this breach. Users really need to change their passwords as soon as possible, and avoid reusing passwords across sites.” [Mashable]
- Talking of online shopping, Souqalmal.com this week did a like-for-like comparison of three Middle Eastern ecommerce sites – see the results regarding speed, ease and cost of delivery and refunds and exchanges.
Indian election strengthens rupee
The Indian election, which brought the BJP to power, brought the rupee under 16 to the dirham for the first time in almost a year, sparking queues at UAE exchange houses with people submitting remittances home.
“The people’s mandate went towards the belief that the new government will stabilise the Indian economy, strengthening the rupee. In fact, expats had started rushing to remit money in anticipation of a sharp strengthening of the rupee right since the exit polls,” said Adeeb Ahmad, Lulu International’s CEO. “The general sentiment is that the rupee will only strengthen from here.” [Gulf News]