Banks must book quarterly provisions

A senior banker said the latest circular is more detailed (FILE)

Banks in the UAE must book provisions on a quarterly basis starting this year, according to a circular from the Central Bank, which is pushing for transparency in the country's banking system.

The UAE Central Bank issued a clarification and guidance manual to banks dated January 27 advising them to follow guidelines issued last November. The new rules are in line with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision standards.

"Banks had issues in interpreting the November circular. The latest one is a detailed clarification," a senior banker said.

"The Central Bank is also reiterating that provisions are compulsory every quarter because some banks did not follow this guideline last year," said the banker who asked not to be named.

The central bank said in the document seen by Reuters that the implementation date of this manual is January 1, 2011.

Loans have been classified under five categories -- normal, watchlist, sub-standard, doubtful and loss. No provisions are required for the first two categories but provisions of 25, 50 and 100 percent should be booked for the last three categories respectively, the manual said.

A central bank spokesman declined to comment.

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