We’ve seen a 30 percent increase in savings account searches on Souqalmal.com in the UAE in the last month – so it looks like people are beginning to see the value of setting money aside after the economic crisis.
During the economic crisis, there was a huge liquidity problem and financial institutions in the UAE pushed their fixed deposit products.
However, this situation has changed now, and banks are back on track and are promoting their savings accounts with varied schemes to attract customers, as I told Gulf News recently.
As there are no social benefits for expats in the UAE, taking personal responsibility for savings is essential.
Expats staying for longer
And the trend now is longer term than it was pre-crisis, when expats were more likely to come to the Emirates, especially Dubai, for just one or two years.
Citibank is offering a savings rate of four percent for non-resident Indians with savings of AED 40,000 or more. Mashreq has a step-up account going from 0.05 percent to four percent over 18 months for AED 10,000 or more. United Arab Bank (UAB) is offering 2.25 – 2.5 percent on accelerator deposit accounts with minimum balances of AED 25,000, while NBD, Emirates Islamic and RAK Bank are all offering two percent savings accounts from a zero balance up.
As the property market experiences growth, people also are tending to look to buy.
However the change in mortgage regulations means expats now must put a 20 percent down payment towards a property when buying for under AED 5m, rising to 35 percent for properties costing more than that.