(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) UAE banks are in a good position and well-insulated from the current turmoil in financial markets, the country's central bank said.
In a statement issued after the meeting of the bank's board of directors in Abu Dhabi, the regulator said all financial indicators are positive underscoring the strength of the country's banking sector.
The board, meeting under new chairman Khalifa Mohammed Al Kindi, discussed some banking policy issues and reviewed the draft of new regulations on mortgages as well as a draft of new rules on dormant accounts. The board also has instructed the introduction of some amendments.
At its seventh meeting for 2012, the board reviewed a report of the assistant governor for Monetary Policy and Financial Stability on the overall prudential ratios of the banking system, financial stability, banking data and liquidity.
The UAE Central Bank, which has been preparing to overhaul banking laws dating back to the charter under which it was established, also reviewed a report submitted by the Banking Supervision Department showing the financial position of banks and other financial institutions.
The board also reviewed a number of administrative issues, including projects executed by the Administrative Affairs Division and its future projects. Also coming under the review was human resources issues, including human resources statistical data up to the third quarter of 2012.
The appointment of Al Kindi as the new chairman was announced through an e-mailed statement by the central bank. He had served as managing director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Council.
The central bank is in talks with individual lenders to impose lending caps to government and government related entities. Under its new rules, announced in early April, any banks lending to governments and related entities is capped at 100 per cent of its capital base, while lending to a single borrower is curbed at 25 per cent.
The apex bank is currently discussing with the Ministry of Finance more major amendments to banking laws, now in its draft stage.
In July, the central bank published liquidity regulations aimed at bringing banks into line with the Basel III requirements, itself designed to prevent a repeat of the mistakes that led to the global financial crisis. The new system aims to ensure that banks have efficient and effective measures in place for liquidity risk management and governance as well as to improve their liquid assets and funding channels. The system provides a framework for implementing the requirements of Basel III banking supervision standards.
In May 2011, the central bank introduced regulations to cap the amount banks can lend to customers at 20 times of their salary and setting the period of loan repayment at 48 months.
The regulator said its board meeting was attended by deputy chairman of the board Khalid Juma Al Majid and central bank Governor Sultan bin Nasser Al Suwaidi.
The meeting was also attended by board members Younis Haji Khoori, Khalid Salim Balama, Hamad Mubarak Bu Amim, Khalid Ahmed Altayer, deputy governor Mohamed Ali bin Zayed Al Falasi, assistant governor for banking supervision Saeed Al Hamiz, assistant governor for monetary policy and financial stability Saif Hadif Al Shamsi and a group of senior central bank staff.
The board reviewed applications submitted by banks and other financial institutions operating in the UAE for extension of their activities and opening of new branches.