Alvi’s directions to Banking Ombudsman

610

PRESIDENT Dr. Arif Alvi has directed the Banking Ombudsman to use modern information technology including e-complaints service in order to protecting the bank consumers from financial losses. Talking to Banking Ombudsman Kamran Shahzad, he appreciated the role of Banking Ombudsman in protecting the bank consumers from financial losses but emphasized the need for improving and expanding the service of Banking Ombudsman.
The office of the Banking Ombudsman received 14,000 complaints this year which are 32% more than the previous year. It is also noteworthy that the complainants got a relief of 320 million rupees without resort to litigation that might have consumed their time and money. The Banking Ombudsman has the authority to inquire into complaints of banking malpractice, discriminatory actions, violations of banking laws, corruption and inordinate delay and inefficiency which means that a lot of grievances of the consumers and customers can be addressed satisfactorily but regrettably there is no proper appreciation and understanding of this role by ordinary people. Businesses have been benefiting from the services of the institution but ordinary citizens have yet to properly utilize this forum to get justice if wronged by banks. There are numerous complaints about alleged malpractices in banks right from opening of bank accounts to dealing at the counters. There are legitimate complaints that banks are getting handsome profits on investments made out of savings of their customers but account holders received almost nothing. Instead, banks are unjustifiably increasing bank charges for their services on a half yearly basis and are not extending basic services like free SMS alerts despite clear instructions of the State Bank of Pakistan. There are service inefficiencies and majority of branches of almost all banks decline to provide the routine services like exchange of soiled, mutilated or imperfect currency notes as obligated by the SBP. People can benefit in a better way if they have proper awareness about their rights and redressal mechanism.