Karachi: The Banking Mohtasib Pakistan Office disposed of 21,360 complaints out of 25,528 during the calendar year 2020.
Banking Mohtasib Pakistan (BMP) Muhammad Kamran Shehzad has said that by disposing of these complaints, the BMP Office has provided relief amounting to Rs 598 million to the complainants/ banking customers.
Giving the break-up, Mr Kamran told at the Institute of Bankers Pakistan today, while unveiling the Annual Report 2020 of Banking Mohtasib Pakistan, that 22,750 new complaints were received in 2020 whereas 2,778 complaints were brought forward from 2019. Quoting the Annual Report, he said that out of 25,528 complaints, 16,123 complaints were resolved amicably through reconciliation, 166 complaints were decided after formal hearings and orders passed accordingly, while 5,071 complaints were disposed of/rejected being found incomplete, frivolous and lacking jurisdiction, and 4,168 complaints remained outstanding as on December 31, 2020.
He further said that Banking Mohtasib Pakistan Office disposed of 12,861 complaints out of 15,639 during the calendar year 2019. New complaints received in the year 2019 were 14,587 while 1,052 complaints were carried forward from 2018, he said, adding that Rs 260 million relief was provided to the banking customers in 2019.
Mr Kamran Shehzad said that a 56% increase was observed in the receipt of complaints during the year 2020 as compared to the last year (2019). He said that in-spite of COVID-19, Banking Mohtasib Pakistan Office has succeeded in maintaining the regular pace of disposing of complaints, while adhering to the prescribed COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
He said that Banking Mohtasib Pakistan in a report submitted to the State Bank of Pakistan has suggested a number of measures for the further speedy resolution of banking customers’ complaints, some of which are as under:
• Reducing the notice period of complaints for complainants from 45 to 15 days.
• Amendments may be made in the relevant clause of Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962 so that the complainant may be allowed to submit an undertaking instead of an attestation by the Oath Commissioner.
• Master circular on internet banking/fund transfer incorporating all the instructions/modifications may be issued by SBP to facilitate banks and all other stakeholders.
• Suspension of PSD Circular No.9 of 28th November, 2018 regarding biometric verification of account holders (suspended on March 18, 2020 due to COVID-19) may be lifted, if considered appropriate or some alternate for biometric verification may be introduced to reduce/avoid miseries of innocent account holders.
• Data on all consumer complaints may be consolidated for effective analysis.
Banking Mohtasib Office has also recommended to the Federal Government to make few amendments in the Federal Ombudsmen Institutional Reforms Act, 2013 for the benefit of banking customers, he added.
He said that the BMP Office is also planning to upgrade its information system by introducing a user-friendly online portal. It would provide convenience to the complainants to lodge and track their complaints through an online portal and mobile application. It will also help in reducing the period for the early resolution of complaints. The Banking Mohtasib Pakistan is also planning to revamp its website and make it more user-friendly, he added.
Mr Kamran Shehzad said that Banking Mohtasib Pakistan has made efforts to conduct complainants’ satisfaction survey to evaluate the performance of the Banking Mohtasib Pakistan Office in order to further improve its service, quality, and other related issues. The results of the survey would be analysed and shall be disseminated in its annual report, he added.