Banks in the UAE are adopting a code of conduct that will protect consumers and stop lenders from using unscrupulous methods to attract new business.

The code of conduct has been written by the UAE Banks Federation (UBF), an industry body which includes every bank in the UAE. It is thought to be the first time any such initiative has been undertaken in the region. The aim is that the banking sector will regulate itself, with the UBF intending to set up a website that allows customers to expose bad service and enable the UBF to name and shame lenders which breach the code.

A key target of the code is misleading advertising about the interest rates banks charge on products such as mortgages, personal loans and car loans.

“We want to protect the consumer and we want to protect the economy,” says Abdulaziz al-Ghurair, chairman of the UBF and chief executive of Mashreqbank. He adds, “It is the right time [to launch the code of conduct] because we are in a boom and many customers don’t get into the details and are prepared to sign documents quickly.”