KARACHI: The Banking Ombudsman of Pakistan has received a total of 388 complaints from customers against Bank Al-Habib Limited during the year 2020, out of which 254 complaints were lodged through the Banking Ombudsman Pakistan Secretariat and 134 through the Prime Minister’s Portal. This was revealed in the Annual Report of the Banking Ombudsman for the year 2020.
For the first time, the Banking Ombudsman of Pakistan has such a high number of complaints against Bank Al Habib Limited in a given year. Bank Al Habib has a track record of complaints not more than 118; however, a year-on-year increase in the number of complaints against the Bank has been observed recently. Between 2013 and 2020, 611 customers lodged complaints against Bank Al Habib Limited, most of which have been resolved by the Banking Ombudsman.
The Banking Ombudsman in its Annual Report 2019stated that 118 customers lodged their complaints against bank Al Habib while the Annual Report 2018 revealed the number of such complaints during the year as 24, out of which 5 complaints were related to ATMs.Similarly, 18 complaints against 4 ATMs were received in 2017, 18 complaints against 4 ATMs in 2016, 14 complaints against 10 ATMs in 2015 while a total of 12 complaints in 2014 and 12 complaints were received against Bank Al-Habib in 2013.
Most of these complaints have been resolved by the Banking Ombudsman. However, it is evident from the above facts that the Banking Ombudsman acted on customers’ complaints against Bank Al-Habib for violating rules and regulations. Annual Reports do not provide the details about customers’ complaints against the Bank, however, it is mentionable here that the Ombudsman has a pre-defined jurisdiction for considering and redressing the complaints filed by customers against a bank.
The Banking Ombudsman of Pakistan acts on customers’ complaints where a bank has failed to comply with the rules and regulations (including the directives and orders issued by the State Bank of Pakistan from time to time) or issues related to delays or frauds in the transfer of funds, payments, cheques, drafts or other banking instruments; fraudulent or unauthorized withdrawal of funds by the bank or deduction of the loan amount from an account; complaints from exporters and importers regarding banking services and Letters of Credit responsibilities both for the accounts belonging to Pakistani nationals and foreigners; complaints regarding foreign remittances, mark up rates, violations of the SBP Orders, payment of utility bills, ATMs, advance loans, deposits and Zakat deduction.
Sources said that the Bank Ombudsman acted against Bank Al-Habib under these rules, while Complaints against Bank Al-Habib showed that the bank is losing its credibility.
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