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RAK Bank to close 25% of its branches next month

The National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK Bank) will shut down nine branches from next month as demand for digital banking grows among the UAE residents.

The lender will close six branches in Dubai and one each in Sharjah, Khor Fakkan and Abu Dhabi from September 3, 2020. In Dubai, branches in Al Ras, Mirdiff, Marina Diamond, Al Quoz Industrial, Dubai Investment Park and Jebel Ali Free Zone will be closed, while Sharjah’s industrial area and Abu Dhabi’s Al Jazeera branches will also be shut, it said in a statement sent to its customers.

Operating 36 branches across the country, the closure of nine branches will reduce the lender’s network by 25 per cent.

Banks in the UAE have been reducing branches as customer footfall continues to drop, especially after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic as more residents are opting for digital banking. Banks are also investing heavily in the development of digital infrastructure, which also reduces cost for them in the long run.

UAE’s national banks closed 16 branches in the first-quarter of this year as the number of branches declined to 640 at the end of Q1 2020 as compared to 656 in Q4 2019. The number of bank branches in the country, local and foreign lenders combined, peaked in 2015 at 874.

In March 2019, Mashreq Bank had announced plans to close 50 per cent branches last year and convert them into digital branches.

RAK Bank said the customers’ IBAN and account details will remain unchanged and they can visit any of its branches for banking transactions.

“We have increased the daily withdrawal and deposit limits across all our ATMs/EDMs to reduce your visits to our branches and urge you to use these channels,” the bank said.

The bank will also accept cheques through drop boxes available in all branch lobbies.

RAK Bank reported consolidated net profit of Dh153.5 million for Q1 2020, a decrease of 43.2 per cent when compared to the first-quarter of 2019 due to higher IFRS 9 provisions set as precautionary measures to combat the economic impact of the novel coronavirus

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