BB exposes complaints against banks

The central bank resolves all the 3,930 cases


Moinul Islam, a businessman in Sylhet, had applied to a private bank for a loan of Tk 7 crore to build a hotel on his own land.

The bank initially sanctioned and disbursed Tk 2.5 crore, with a promise to give the rest in phases. After investing the fund in project, he asked the bank to disburse the remaining amount to help fast-track the construction of the hotel.

The bank quickly approved Tk 3.05 crore, but he could not withdraw the fund. Islam found out that the loan sanctioned for him was withdrawn by others.

He lodged a complaint against the bank with Bangladesh Bank’s Sylhet office, which later carried out a special inspection.

The central bank unearthed that the money was withdrawn by none other than the bank officials, including the branch manager. The bankers used four undated, blank cheques signed by Islam to embezzle Tk 3 crore from his account. He had deposited the cheques with the bank to pay collateral for the loan.

Later, the bank was forced to pay Islam the loan amount, plus the interest accrued against it.

The case that happened in 2012 was not the first in Bangladesh. There are hundreds of complaints against banks, which were depicted in the BB’s latest report on financial integrity and customer services.

The complaints ranged from loans and advances, non-payment of bills, remittance, mobile banking to credit and debit cards.

Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman launched the report, which is the fourth of its kind, at the BB headquarters yesterday. In 2014-15, the central bank resolved all the 3,930 complaints it received, 2,542 of which were written and the remaining were lodged by telephone.

The central bank resolved 95.87 percent of the complaints in 2013-14 and 68.47 percent in 2012-13, officials said.

Analysis found that a highest of 1,361 complaints were linked to general banking, followed by loans and advances 670, local bills 435 and foreign bills 368. There were 228 complaints on credit and debit cards and 91 on mobile banking services.

“Banks should emphasise customer services and satisfaction. Even the people who are coming into the banking channel as part of financial inclusion have to be given the best services,” Rahman told the chief executives of banks at the unveiling of the report.

The BB received about 56 percent of the complaints against 39 private commercial banks, followed by over 28 percent against four state-owned commercial banks and 5.86 percent against foreign banks.

State-owned Sonali faced 256 complaints, the highest among all banks, followed by privately-owned Brac Bank with 175, Rupali 149, Agrani 140, Islami Bank 123 and Janata Bank 106.

Among the foreign banks, Standard Chartered Bangladesh faced the highest number of complaints: 79.

Earlier in March 2011, the BB introduced a help desk to safeguard the interest of the customers. Later in September 2011, the help desk was renamed the Customers’ Interests Protection Centre.

To meet the rising number of complaints, the central bank on July 25, 2012 transformed the centre into an independent department known as the Financial Integrity and Customer Services Department. From March 2011 to June 30 this year, the central bank received 14,920 complaints from the public and has managed to settle all the cases.

In 2013-14 and 2012-13, the department received 4,476 and 4,296 complaints respectively from customers.

The BB, which is a regulatory body for the banks and non-bank financial institutions, also receives complaints through its nine branch offices across the country.

Source: The daily star