10 Jan 2016 AT 11:10 AM

UAE banks hire debt collectors to catch absconders

Agencies in the UK and US step in
10 Jan 2016 AT 11:10 AM
UAE banks hire debt collectors to catch absconders
© Getty Images

Local UAE lenders, including Dubai’s biggest bank, Emirates NBD, have taken steps to clamp down on British and American expats who leave the country without settling loan repayments.

Often, these fleeing debtors think that if they abscond they won’t have to pay back their UAE loan, however a number of lenders have now hired debt collection agencies in the UK and the US, according to Arabian Business.

“In response to a growing number of fleeing debtors, banks such as Emirates NBD, ADCB [Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank] and others have been increasing their recovery efforts by employing international debt collectors and enforcers,” Radha Stirling, a legal consultant specialising in the Middle East and founder of the London-based charity Detained in Dubai, told Arabian Business.

Radha Stirling claimed that a number of these third party agencies have resorted to intimidation and harassment to reclaim money. Threats allegedly include Interpol notices and, in some cases, threats of harm.

“Any third party claiming to represent a bank, should insist upon receiving confirmation of representation before entertaining any communication,” Stirling said. “In our experience, most debtors have acted in good faith and genuinely seek to reach a manageable resolution.”

In response to this, Arabian Business received a statement from Emirates NBD: “We would like to confirm that, like other banks, Emirates NBD works with debt collection agencies, within the legal rules and regulations of the jurisdiction where the bank uses these agencies”.

People fleeing  with personal and business loans is not a problem that’s exclusive to the UAE, however, according to reports the issue of unpaid debts in this country stands at over AED5 billion.

With more lenders employing third party agencies to catch absconders in their own countries, it’s hoped that people will think twice before trying to run from their debts.