The Debt Panel: ‘Can I pay off my Dh70,000 loan from another country?’

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The Dubai resident has missed a few instalments but has been offered a job outside the UAE and will be able to start repaying it again

I have a Dh70,000 personal loan with a bank in the UAE. I have been unable to pay the instalments for a few months as I have been having financial problems and my salary is not enough to cover the payments.

I have been applying for other jobs in the hope of increasing my salary and have been offered a position outside the UAE. The salary is higher than what my current position pays.

Is it possible to pay my loan balance from another country? If so, what do I need to do to ensure that I will have no issues with the bank and move countries to start my new job without a problem? RL, Dubai

Debt panellist 1: Sameh Awadallah, acting global head of retail banking at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

You can pay your debt from another country. However, the crucial point to note here is to communicate with your bank.

As soon as you change employers, your bank will be aware of your employment status.

Also, if a bank knows that somebody is leaving the country and is expected to leave behind substantial debts, it can apply to the courts for a travel ban.

Banks can enforce collection even if you are in another country or jurisdiction, especially within the GCC region. I would advise you to reach out to your bank, explain your situation and intention to continue paying the loan after leaving the country.

Based on specific circumstances, a borrower’s track record of timely repayments and a willingness to pay back their debts in full, the bank may agree to a repayment plan.

Interest rates and some other terms might change, so it is important to know what these are so you can plan accordingly.

Requesting repayment breaks while looking for a job or moving to another country will provide you with some breathing space. You can also request the bank to change the repayment structure to only interest repayments in the short term, with the principal to be paid later.

It is important to note that the bank would rather receive regular repayments that lead to a debt being paid off rather than the borrower being unable to pay it because of an unmanageable payment structure in the short term.

Debt panellist 2: Jaya Ratnani, managing partner at Freed Financial Services

Being in debt is not a pleasant situation to be in. While your current situation may seem complicated, fortunately, there are ways to deal with it.

There is no legal requirement for a borrower to reside in the UAE. Banks in the UAE do accept payments from foreign countries but only after coming to an official agreement with the borrower.

However, leaving the country with unpaid liabilities could lead to legal consequences such as a civil case and travel ban. This will make it difficult for you to return to the UAE in the future.


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