COMPLAINT RESOLUTION MECHANISM
Ensuring that bank & financial institutions treat their customers fairly is at the heart of consumer protection agenda of State Bank of Pakistan. SBP aims to provide high quality, accessible and responsive services, designed to effectively redress the grievances of consumers of banks/DFIs/ MFBs and other stakeholders through devising proactive policies and efficient complaint resolution mechanism. This mechanism sets out the procedures for complaint lodgment, handling of complaints and periodic monitoring of the mechanism. It is vital that customers know that if something goes wrong, their complaint will be dealt in a fair and transparent manner. The following guidelines aim at minimizing instances of customer complaints and grievances through proper service delivery and review mechanism, and to ensure prompt redressal of customer complaints and grievances.
Complaint Resolution at Banks
State Bank of Pakistan has circulated “Guidelines in Dealing with Customer’s Complaints” wherein all banks and DFIs have been advised to have proper mechanism for the resolution of public complaints and grievances. For the purpose all banks and DFIs are required to identify and entrust the responsibility to an appropriate senior person to handle all sort of complaints received. The person and section/unit entrusted the work must:-
- Acknowledge all the complaints;
- Address/handle and investigate the complaints in a fair and prompt manner;
- Devise a system for redressal of the complaints in an appropriate and courteous manner and the reply to the complainant must be clear and indicate the reasons/rationale of the decision being conveyed to him/her. If possible, the reply may be sent in Urdu language where the complainant has used the language other than English.
- The complaints must be responded within a period of 10 working days. Where a complaint requires further investigation, an interim reply must be sent indicating the reasons for the time to be taken and expected date of action/response.
- where a complaint needs to be probed further the same may be investigated by an employee who is not directly involved with that particular complaint.
- Procedure for lodgment of a complaint and its resolution both in English and Urdu for the convenience of their customers and also post it on notice boards at each of their branch/office as also on their website.
- Make available copies of their internal complaint handling procedures, in each of their branches and offices to which customers have access for expeditious disposal of complaints.
You are advised to initially bring the complaint in the knowledge of concerned bank/ DFI and wait for their response. You can lodge complaint over the telephone or through email or surface mail.
Over Telephone at helpline:
- Make sure that you make brief note of the conversation.
- Note down the name of the person you speak to and the date and time you speak to them.
- Keep the notes in a safe place as a record of your complaint.
- Later, make a follow-up call, if issue still remains unresolved.
By eMails or Surface Mails
- It is the best way to file your complaint in writing, especially for more complex complaints.
- Include all essential information and relevant dates but try to keep it clear and simple.
- Put down the facts chronologically.
- Every time you write, keep a copy of your letters for reference.
Response by the Bank
- All banks and DFIs are requires to respond to you in line with SBP guidelines. If you find any bank/DFI is breaching above instruction, please bring it into the notice of State Bank of Pakistan.
Role of Banking Mohtasib Pakistan (BMP)
Banking Mohtasib Pakistan is an independent statutory body established to resolve disputes between consumers and banks. BMP derives its powers from the Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962. The role of BMP in the financial industry is to resolve disputes through a process which is largely conciliatory and, where mediation is unsuccessful, to recommend a basis for the settlement of a dispute. The Banking Mohtasib shall exercise his powers and authority in relation to all banks operating in Pakistan.
Types of Complaints BMP Entertains
- Failure to act in accordance with banking laws and regulations including policy directives or guidelines issued by the State Bank from time to time. Provided that if there is a dispute as to the proper interpretation of any regulations, directions or guidelines, the same shall be referred to the State Bank for clarification.
- Delays or fraud in relation to the payment or collection of cheques, drafts or other banking instruments or the transfer of funds;
- Fraudulent or unauthorized withdrawals or debit entries in accounts;
- Complaints from exporters or importers relating to banking services and obligations including letter of credits;
- Complaints from holders of foreign currency accounts, whether maintained by residents or non-residents;
- Complaints relating to remittances to or from abroad;
- Complaints relating to mark-up or interest rates based on the ground of a violation of an agreement or of State Bank directives;
- Complaints relating to the payment of utility bills.
- In relation to banks in the public sector. The Banking Mohtasib is authorized to entertain complaints against such banks on the following additional grounds as well;
(i) corrupt or malafide practices by bank officers;
(ii) gross dereliction of duty in dealing with customers; and
(iii) inordinate delays in taking decisions.
Complaint Lodging Procedure
The complaints handling process of BMP is centralized at the Karachi Secretariat. You need to follow the following simple steps:
- Approach your bank in writing to resolve your complaint stating in the letter that you intend to refer the grievance to the Banking Mohtasib if matter not resolved to your satisfaction.
- If you do not receive a reply from bank within 45 days, or find the reply unsatisfactory, you may file a complaint with the Banking Mohtasib on the prescribed complaint form.
- The complaint form duly completed, signed and attested by an Oath Commissioner should be attached to your letter of complaint addressed to the Banking Mohtasib and sent to:
Banking Mohtasib Pakistan
5th floor, M. R. Kiyani Road
P.O Box 604
- Make sure that all related correspondence with the bank and copies of all relevant documents are also sent to the Banking Mohtasib. Do not send original documents.
- BMP endeavors to resolve most complaints within 2 months. However, depending on complexity, some complaints can take longer to resolve.
- After confirming that all procedural requirements have been met, BMP may call for additional information from both parties, if necessary, to better understand the issue. If needed, BMP may visit banks to examine their books, procedures and processes relating to a complaint.
- The outcome of this will be:
a) If complaint is found to be unjustified – in such cases BMP informs the complainant accordingly and closes the case.
b) If complaint is found to be genuine – in such cases BMP institutes a process of mediation to achieve an amicable resolution between both parties.
- If the matter cannot be resolved amicably, BMP passes a suitable Order asking the bank to rectify the situation or make good the complainant's loss. Additionally, where warranted, BMP may direct the bank to pay to the complainant a reasonable compensation for hardship, if any, suffered by the complainant as a result of the bank's conduct.
Complaint Handling Procedure at State Bank of Pakistan:
Following is the step-by-step procedure to lodge your complaints with CPD:
- If any complaint regarding banking issue is directly sent to the State Bank of Pakistan, will be handled at redressal division provided that the complaint falls within the SBP's jurisdiction.
- If the matter is deemed to be outside the regulatory jurisdiction of SBP, the complainant will be informed as to why it cannot be investigated.
- If the complaint is deemed to be within the purview of this office, a letter of acknowledgement will be dispatched to the complainant, and on the date a copy of the complaint and attachments will be sent to the relevant Bank/ DFI for comments/ clarification/investigation.
- The State Bank will assess the response of the bank/DFI. The State Bank can require further clarifications or seek relevant information/documents for the investigation and adjudication upon the case.
- Every case is judged on its individual merits. The time taken to investigate a dispute depends on the complexity of the individual case.
- State Bank critically examines all the circumstances surrounding the complaint. After assessing views of the parties along with the documentary evidences, the case may be disposed of with the final decision.
- If the case is complex and the decision cannot be made in the light of submitted material only, a formal hearing to the parties will be convened.
- The hearing will be reviewed together with the documentary evidences and a final decision will be declared to both parties.
- You may approach SBP for redress of your grievances by following means:
Through Surface Mail to:
Consumer Protection Department
State Bank of Pakistan
I.I. Chundrigar Road
Or send your complaint through electronic complaint form:
You may also contact us at our Customer Facilitation Centre at following numbers for assistance.
021- 99218147 (For pension & utility bills related complaints)
021- 99218148 (For other general banking related complaints)
Or email at: