Rakbank opens new branch in Dubai

New bank will have a dedicated SME unit to cater for local businesses.

Rakbank, a UAE based retail bank, has opened a new branch in Dragon Mart Shopping Center, Dubai.

According to the Rakbank, the new branch will have dedicated SME unit, to cater the local businesses. It also offers a range of loan and deposit services for SMEs, including finance through collateral-free loans, without the need for placement of deposits or assets as financial guarantees.
The branch also hosts a dedicated team of Chinese relationship managers to facilitate communication with Chinese customer.

In addition, the new Rakbank branch will offer a range of conventional personal services that include Rakbank account, deposit and investment options as well as personal, auto and mortgage loans, and a suite of credit cards.

Rakbank general manager Graham Honeybill said the new bank presence aims to widen the limited banking options currently available in the area and to strengthen the relationship the bank has built with the Chinese community over the years.

Rakbank Head of Business Finance Pritam Mirchandani said SMEs are always looking for credit in order to sustain and grow business especially in the UAE market where SMEs make up the majority of businesses in the country.

"The new specialized SME center within the Dragon Mart branch will help to address those needs and offer practical and convenient solutions to the numerous surrounding businesses," Mirchandani said.

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Geoffrey Howe dies, aged 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.