Consumer banking – Citizens left in dark over disputes with banks | Pakistan Today

Consumer banking – Citizens left in dark over disputes with banks

Lahore – People have little idea of where to go if they have any dispute regarding consumer banking with commercial banks, although there are a couple of institutions which can come in very handy in this regard
Commercial banks, despite orders by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to prominently display information about these institutions, have ignored the instructions.
The institutions that are meant to settle disputes between banks and consumers are little known to the public while banks have not taken any steps to create public awareness. Around two major institutions have been established to address problems between banks and consumers including the Banking Mohtasib and the Consumer Protection Department but both of the institutions are little known to people.
When the institution of Banking Mohtasib was established in 2005, banks displayed boards containing information about it at prominent places. Customers could easily read the information about the Banking Mohtasib and file complaints against commercial banks. But now these boards are either missing or being placed at a place, where consumers could not see it. There is also a website of the Banking Mohtasib and citizens could also file their complaints online.But if people did not know about the institution then how could they file complaints?
Similarly, the Consumer Protection Department was established in 2008 by the SBP with an objective to help people settling their problems against banks but this department is also little known to citizens and people living in urban areas are not even aware of the department.
Talking to Pakistan Today, a majority of citizens expressed their ignorance about any such institutions. They said that whenever they have any complaint or problem with banks, they just remain quite or talk to the branch manager in this regard. In a majority of cases, bank officials favour their institution.
But with advent of online and credit card banking, problems of consumers changed and they face problems, which are not relevant to a particular branch or area, said a senior banker, seeking anonymity. He said that people have complaints regarding credit cards but they did not have any idea where to file complaints.
“With establishment of these consumer-friendly institutions, it is important that people should also know about them,” he said adding that one of the ways is to advertise about them and create public awareness. He said that earlier there have been advertisements in the print and electronic media about these institutions but now this practice is also not adopted. A bank customer Imran Ahmed said that he had a dispute about a credit card with a bank and despite repeated attempts, the bank did not give him a settlement letter.
“I was very much disappointed with response of the bank but did not know what to do,” Ahmed said adding that one of his friend asked him to lodge a complaint with the Consumer Protection Department or the Banking Mohtasib. “I was not aware of both the institutions but now I will file my complaint against the bank,” he added.
Another citizen Sajjad Sabir said that the bank he used to visit had displayed the board of Banking Mohtasib prominently in the past but now they have displayed it at a place, where people hardly see it. When asked about the Consumer Protection Department, he said, “I have never seen any information about any such department.”
A banker said that they have displayed information of the Banking Mohtasib prominently but people did not bother about it therefore we changed the place. “The board is still placed at a wall, where people could easily see it,” he added.

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One Comment;

  1. Abu Bakar said:

    All banks display the board at prominent places and any bank not doing so is penalized by SBP surprise inspection team. Please do not spread wrong information.

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