The Central Bank of the UAE celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, marking four decades of impressive accomplishments that have helped to build strong foundations for the UAE’s economic development. H.E. Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, Governor, explains, “We have put new policies in place concerning implementing Basel Three criteria and boosting banks’ liquidity and the banking system’s reserves. We aim to increase value for shareholders.”
The Central Bank’s mission is to formulate and implement banking, credit and monetary policies that will ensure sustainable, balanced growth for the UAE economy. The Central Bank is also working to maintain a fixed exchange rate of the dirham against the US dollar and to maintain the free convertibility of the national currency into foreign currencies. The Central Bank serves as the ‘Bank of Banks’ and the UAE government’s bank and financial adviser.
The Central Bank is currently expanding personal banking services, including personal consumer loans; these efforts have resulted in a growth in deposits in 2011. The Central Bank is also working to upgrade corporate governance in UAE banks and to balance local and international markets.
Strengthening the UAE’s ties to the EU is a key goal for the Central Bank. H.E. Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi points out, “The EU is very important to us. We rely on EU countries for trade and we depend on Europe for 20% of our imports, 26% counting the UK. The financial flow from Europe to the UAE has been significant and we want to make sure that this flow continues to be strong.”
Cutting-edge IT systems and services
The Central Bank has been steadily upgrading its IT systems and services, and has created ICCS electronic banking using imaging of checks. H.E. Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi says, “We implemented ICCS three years ago and it has been very successful. We worked with the Ministry of Labour concerning a wage protection system and now four million people are getting paid through our ICCS system.”
One of the recent tasks of the Central Bank has been to help the UAE cope with the economic slowdown caused by the global financial crisis. As H.E. Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi points out, the slowdown has had some benefits for investors, including reducing the costs of doing business in the UAE. In the future, he adds, the Central Bank aims to ensure ‘stable resources’ for all UAE banks and to continue to serve as a bridge between other countries and the UAE.