Thinking Out Loud

This (Dubai) bank doubled their interest rate

August 21, 2010

The 36th cheque, and supposedly the last, for our car loan just got debited in our bank account, but I'm taking to the back seat the full sigh of relief, since we have yet to know the additional $ we need to shell out for the bank's interest rate adjustment.

During the economic boom, Dubai's banks race to offer loans -- "light" requirements at low interests rates (our car loan was at 3.99% per annum). Many expats received loans. This spelled trouble for the banks when recession came in the picture early last year. As expats lose their jobs, they opted to leave, including their unpaid liabilities. For car loans, news had it that cars in couple of thousands had been left in the airport, in malls and other car parks. I'm not really sure of the impact to the banks this has, apart from obvious liquidity issues. I mean, do banks run to their insurers?

Now for us, we signed with a new local commercial bank then. At 3.99%, they offered the lowest annual rate against 4.25% to 5% of other established banks. We thought we were practical. But halfway thru our loan period, we received a notice that for the remaining amount, the rate will be charged at 8.5% ! Their reason is that they need to cope up with the challenge of the times. So, ah ok!

Some of our lessons:

1) Check banks with history of changing agreed terms
2) Read and understand all terms and conditions fully. Be careful of lines to the effect of "... the bank reserves the right to...". Sometimes, they give you a sentence with hidden details. It might just say " ... as per bank's terms and conditions" which one would be blind of until he/ she complains and ends up  being told "... but you signed acceptance..."

That sign used to say "Baby On Board"

All about our Superman

Gremliness @ Four

August 14, 2010

If keeping a Gremlin's diary- blog is graded, I guess I'll struggle to have  a passing mark =) . I'm almost two months delayed on his birthday post, so here it is.

Our Gremlin celebrated his fourth birthday in June this year, and he is still keeping us in awe. Indeed, we're always thankful for life's graciousness through our son.

The Gremlin's fourth birthday took a different definition this year. At the last minute we cancelled the Chowking reservation -- so our apologies for not celebrating with most of you. Nonetheless, it was an official and happy Kalel Day =)

His day started with balloons, banner (recycled from his last year's Baguio birthday), gifts and the first cake.

He woke up surprised of our greetings
We led him out the hall when he said "But wait mama and papa, we forgot something, my birthday cake!"
 Then for lunch, we were off to Rain Forest CafĂ©.
Rain Forest Cafe, Dubai Mall
Afternoon was spent at Kidzania. He became a pilot, a fireman, a race driver among others for awhile.
My li'l Emirates pilot
They shouted "Firefighters Kidzania!"
Then he blew his second and official Tigger and Pooh birthday cake during dinner at Fish and Co with aunts and uncles.

Second cake for the day baked by Rochelle whom
I came to know of online.
She makes really yummy "art-ful" cakes"
The Gremlin led the prayer at Fish and Co., Al Ghurair Mall
(btw, they've got very accommodating staff)
The birthday dinner at Fish and Co.
Shared the thanksgiving with aunts and uncles

All in all, the day was about our thanksgiving for our blessing, our Gremlin.

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