Dubai Holding launches consumer finance company ‘Dubai First’


Dubai Holding has launched a consumer finance company called Dubai First with an authorised capital of one billion dirhams. The company, which will be  a subsidiary of Dubai Financial and have an initial paid-up capital of dhs350 million, will initially launch credit cards and then extend its product portfolio to mortgages and other financial services.

Earlier this year, Dubai First acquired Dubai Bank’s credit card portfolio of 80,000 cards and an asset book of dhs180 million.  Dubai First’s credit cards from are expected to offer free life insurance, free household insurance, free 365-days purchase protection and discounts on the e-gate card. The company is also eyeing alliances with UAE exchange, Al Ansari Exchange and Emarat. The company intends to eventually operate across the Middle East and North Africa.

Ibrahim Al Ansari, Country Corporate Officer of Dubai First, said, "Our target is to achieve in three years a six per cent market share in UAE's credit card business estimated at 2.5 million subscribers and recording an annual growth rate of 25 per cent." At present, Dubai First has three per cent of the total business in the credit card segment.

“Market research shows the UAE’s retail loans are valued at approximately 16 per cent of GDP. Other GCC countries including Kuwait and Bahrain stand at 25 per cent. This is very low compared to more developed countries such as the US, where total retail lending is 105 per cent of GDP.  This indicates the immense potential of our business,” said Sayanta Basu, CEO of Dubai Financial and board member of Dubai First.

Basu said, "All operational processes related to the take over of the credit card business of Dubai Bank were completed in a record time of three months."

He said, "Dubai First's vision is to be a leading player in consumer finance across the Middle East and North Africa. The strategy of the new organisation is to establish a centre of multi-functional excellence in the UAE and leverage this to enter new markets. Dubai First aims to be a truly customer-centric organisation. Dubai First will be the benchmark for service excellence in the region, while offering benefits and features that deliver real value to our customers."

The event also marked the launch of a corporate card programme for employees of Dubai Holding. Abdulhakeem Kamkar, CEO of Dubai Investment Group, handed over a Dubai First Corporate Credit Card to Fadel Al Ali, Chief Financial and Operating Officer of Dubai Holding.

Ramakrishnan Sivaram, Sales and Marketing Head, Dubai First, said, "We are working with many of our sister companies to develop product propositions and partnerships that will deliver real customer value."

Providing customer convenience is also a focus for the company, with additional alliances firmed up with UAE Exchange, Al Ansari Exchange and Emarat. Customers can make their payments conveniently to Dubai First through more than 100 partner locations.