A total of four commercial banks have received estimated 1.4 million customers complaints worth N431 billion in 2018, investigation by Nigerian NewsDirect has revealed.
The four commercial banks reported 786,124 customers’ complaints in 2017, in N93.97 billion amounts claimed.
According to analysts, banks customers tend to file reports on failed electronic transactions while others complain over exorbitant bank charges that include interest rate, among others.
Of the four banks, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) reported the highest customers complaints while Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) reported the lowest value claimed by customers in 2018.
For instance, UBA reported 599,956 customers’ complaints in 2018 as against 494,120 complaints in 2017. GTBank reported a significant decline in its customers’ complaints to 45,737 in 2018 from 371,159 in 2017, with amount claimed at N700.09 million in 2018 from N602.18 million in 2017.
Access Bank Plc also reported 427,797 customers’ complaints in 2018 from 285,737 reported in 2017 while Zenith Bank reported 224 customers’ complaints in 2018 from 220 reported in 2017.
In term of amount claimed, Access Bank customer claimed N16 billion in 2018 from N26.17 billion in 2017.
In addition, Zenith Bank customers claimed N11billion from N10 billion reported in 2017.
The President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN), who is also a former Registrar and Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Dr. Uju Ogubunka explained to Nigerian NewsDirect that, banks customers are getting more enlighten on Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) mandatory charges.
He noted that some commercial banks that do not see the commitment to treat customers fairly, this increasing the level of complaints to increase.
In his words, “There are so many reasons why the increase would have come up. Firstly bank customers are getting more enlighten about financial issues.
“Secondly, the guides to bank charges which CBN publishes now serve as a note to customer.
The other reason is that banks that do not see the commitment to treat their customers fairly will have a rise otherwise one would expect that the level of complaints would rather drop instead of increasing.
“These banks do not take cognizance to treat customers fairly. The commitment by commercial banks so far may not be there but most importantly is the fact that, majority of the banks are hiring new hands and unfortunately to the best of information available to us, they are not giving them adequate training in the area of banker-customer relationship.
He explained further that, “Banks are suppose train their staff knowing full well that it is the customers’ that are keeping them in business and if they are the ones keeping them in business, the moral thing to do is to treat them fairly. “Of course, the market place is also very tight, when people are not making enough money to either support their businesses or to support their family. So, every kobo and naira counts and customers are very cautious now.
“We celebrated World consumer day recently. Ask yourself, how many of these banks arranged something for their customers at least, if nothing to thank them for patronizing their bank products.
“I cannot remember anyone. If CBN decides that, if the banks short-change a customer, they will be penalized a 150 per cent of that short-change, everybody will become careful.”
CBN in its economic report for the first half of 2018 noted it received 1,439 complaints from consumers of financial services in the first half of 2018, compared with the 1,141 in the corresponding period of 2017.
“The complaints were, mainly, in respect of excess charges, frauds, dishonoured guarantees and unauthorised deductions/ transfers, among others. A total of 2,451 complaints, including those outstanding from 2017, were resolved in the review period, compared with 1,270 complaints resolved in the corresponding period of 2017.
“Total claims in the review period in local and foreign currencies amounted to N20.5 billion, $163,479.00, £2,889.98 and €32.82, compared with N14.72 billion, US$2.42 million and €6,940.00, in the corresponding period of 2017.
“The sum of N6.80 billion, $119,349, £2,889.98 and €32.82 were refunded by financial institutions to their customers, compared with the sum of N7.21 billion, $2.40 million and €6,940.00, refunded in the corresponding period of 2017.”