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Emirates NBD, a leading banking group in the MENAT (Middle East, North Africa, and Türkiye) region, has signed an agreement with Ras Al Khaimah Municipality to offer escrow services, joining a list of accredited account trustees that manage off-plan project customer funds for real estate developers in the emirate. The strategic partnership will support the growth of the UAE real estate market amid a resurgence in demand for homes.
At a signing ceremony on Wednesday,10 January 2024, Director-General of Ras Al-Khaimah Municipality, Munther Mohammed bin Shakar Al Zaabi, joined Rashed Al Sarkal, Head of Corporate Coverage - Government Related Departments at Emirates NBD, along with parties from both sides, to formalise the agreement at Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, which will allow Emirates NBD to offer escrow services in Ras Al Khaimah as an account trustee. Emirates NBD’s escrow services rigorously adhere to all regulatory standards, ensuring a secure and compliant platform.
Emirates NBD’s recently acquired license in Ras Al Khaimah is a key milestone that will further support the bank’s growth ambitions. The partnership also positions the bank to play a pivotal role in facilitating off-plan real estate projects in Ras Al Khaimah while accelerating Emirates NBD’s cash management business in the Emirate.
Ahmed Al Qassim, Group Head of Wholesale Banking, Emirates NBD, said: “Emirates NBD significantly contributes to the real estate industry, delivering secure solutions for our customers. The launch of our real estate escrow services in Ras Al Khaimah is a testament to facilitating efficient real estate transactions, providing peace of mind to estate buyers and investors who entrust us with their funds. Our valuable partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, offering escrow services to real estate developers, has proven instrumental. Driven by the thriving real estate market, this agreement aligns seamlessly with our goals to expand our escrow services, playing a key role in diversifying the UAE economy. Emirates NBD continues to stand tall as the market leader in this crucial domain."
His Excellency, Munther Mohammed bin Shakar Al Zaabi, Director-General of Ras Al-Khaimah Municipality, added: “This agreement further demonstrates the municipality of Ras Al Khaimah’s commitment to partner with governmental, private, and strategic organisations, to unify efforts that serve the goals of stakeholders in the emirate. It also aims to enhance the implementation of best practices, collaboration and the facilitation of real estate activities. This agreement reinforces the municipality’s leading position in establishing partnerships with investment entities.”
The bank has been rapidly growing its escrow business. This remarkable growth can be attributed to the bank’s best-in-class digital escrow capabilities, including APIs, virtual accounts and the instant payment platform Aani. Real estate escrow services provide a crucial safeguard for consumer funds invested in off-plan projects, ensuring that these funds are ring-fenced and protected in the event of a project's non-completion, facilitating a smooth return of funds when necessary. The presence of an escrow account trustee adds an extra layer of security, guaranteeing that the allocated funds in the escrow account are exclusively used by the developer for construction purposes. This dual protection mechanism not only enhances consumer confidence but also promotes transparency and accountability in the real estate development process.
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