First News
Volume:7, Number:38
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Business & Finance 1

Clients are Complaining

| Afsana Khan |

Bank clients are facing service issues and the number of complaints filed with Bangladesh Bank is on the rise

The central bank has received a total of 4,530 complaints this fiscal year from customers, regarding the quality of service at commercial banks. The figure was 3,930 in the last fiscal. Which means, the number of complaints has increased by 15 percent in a year.

Most of the complaints are about general banking, loans and advances, trade bills, debit and credit cards, mobile banking, and remittance. Although Bangladesh Bank has reportedly settled all the complaints, many are questioning the methods of those settlements, according to the 2015-16 financial year report of the central bank's Financial Integrity and Customer Services Department. On February 7, 2017, Bangladesh Bank governor, Fazle Kabir, unveiled the report at a function at the central bank's conference room in the capital.

The report says that most of the complaints were received against private commercial banks which got 58.70 percent of all complaints, state-owned banks 28.28 percent, foreign banks 4.06 percent, specialized banks 4.66, and other non-scheduled banks 3.93 percent. At the program, three clients shared their bitter experiences with their banks. Mostafa Kamal from Brahmanbaria was one of them. He said, “My brother sent some money from abroad on August 1 last year. When I went to the local branch of Brac Bank to withdraw the money, the bank officials told me that the money had been withdrawn already. I immediately notified the branch manager, but no action was taken to recover the money. Later, I submitted a complaint to the central bank, and thanks to their quick initiatives, I got the money back on August 21. If sending money through the legal channel leads to so many complications, people will be pushed towards the illegal modes of money transfer more and more.”

The Bangladesh Bank received the highest number of complaints against the state-owned Sonali Bank. A total of 563 complaints were filed against this bank. With 373 complaints, private Brac Bank was a close second. Pressured by the complaints, the central bank has conducted 85 special investigations, 19 of which were against the much talked about, corruption- ridden Farmers’ Bank. Governer Fazle Kabir said, “Banks must improve their services to create a good environment so that people can have trust in them. The main problem with the private banks is about providing enough facilities to their employ ees, whereas the state-owned banks struggle with the quality of customer service. The management and boards have to be more careful about these issues. A bank is a service organization. In order to sustain we have to provide various services. Some minor problems are bound to happen.”

Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) president, Ghulam Rahman, said, “The interest rate in deposits is currently below the inflation rate. As a result, many people are opting for options other than keeping their money in the banks.” Deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank, Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hassan, said, "People deposit money in banks because they trust those banks. We will have to serve them faithfully. Complaints and dissatisfaction over the services are unacceptable.” He also expressed dissatisfaction about the activities of three NRB banks.” These banks got permits under conditions of increasing foreign trade, remittance collection, and foreign investment. However, none of the three banks showed any sign of success so far.” Anis A Khan, managing director and CEO of Mutual Trust Bank Ltd (MTB) and chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB), said, “Customers are the driving force of the banking system. If they do not come to the banks, the banks will not be able to survive. So, any complaint about the service should be investigated properly.”

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