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Client harassment: Complaints against banks on the rise

  • Published at 11:40 pm October 27th, 2018
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The Bangladesh Bank building at Motijheel Mehedi Hasan/ Dhaka Tribune

According to data by BB, a total of 470 complaints have been filed by clients of all 59 operating banks of the country regarding financial irregularities and client harassment, as of September, this year

Despite efforts to curb harassment against clients by the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the number of complaints made is steadily rising.

According to data by BB, a total of 470 complaints have been filed by clients of all 59 operating banks of the country regarding financial irregularities and client harassment, as of September, this year.   

The number has increased by 36 from August.

While most of the complaints were loan and advance related, clients also complained about card, remittance, mobile banking, trade bills, and guarantee related services.

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, a businessman complained about failing to withdraw money from his bank’s ATM booth despite having Tk50,000 in his account.  

Upon inquiring about the issue, an employee at the bank’s call center assured him that his money was still in the account, and requested himto withdraw it from directly from one of their branches. 

However, hestill failed to withdraw moneydirectly from the bank.

“The bank officer said thatmy account was empty,” explained the client, preferring to remain anonymous. “I was finally able to withdraw my money aftertwo days, and the bank’s head office blamed the whole issue on a technical fault.”

Data by BB suggests thatin September, state-owned Janata Bank received the highest number of complaints – 47, while Sonali Bank received 35 complaints. 

Defending allegations, Sonali Bank Managing Director and CEO Md Obayed Ullah Al Masud told the Dhaka Tribune that the ones they received were very small in number compared to the large customer base of the bank.

Aiming to end customer harassment, experts recommended making banking services more customer-friendly, and trainingbank officers about proper behaviour towards clients. 

Bangladesh Bank’s Financial Integrity and Customer Services Department (FICSD) officialsexplained that they receivedthese complaints through their call centres, postal mails, emails, faxes, and social media pages. 

“Whenever customers face any kind of harassment from banks, they complainto our department,” added the official, claiming that the number of complaints are increasing due to rising customer awareness of their services.

According to BB data, 25,656 complaints have been filed with the FICSD since 2011, out of which 25,648 have been settled.

Customers stacked the highest number of complaints against Sonali Bank, followed by Brac Bank, Agrani, Islami, Janata, Dutch-Bangla, Bangladesh Krishi Bank, Pubali, Rupali and Eastern Bank. 

BB carried out the highest number of investigations against the Farmers Bank - 19 times. 

National Bank came in at the second place, afterbeing investigated eight times in FY16. Agrani Bank, NRB Commercial Bank, Brac Bank and Southeast Bankoccupied the top six spots, according to the FICSD annual report.