State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has issued a warning to all commercial banks which are making delays in crediting/ transferring pensions in pensioner accounts due to non-utility of automated systems. It clearly stated that banks shall liable to compensate the government for using funds (pensions) during the delay period.
The central bank noted that avoidance of using automated systems caused the delays in the transfer of pensions from the government organizations to pensioner accounts.
Banks should use automated systems (Direct Credit System) for crediting accounts of pensioners for transferring pensions from one branch to another branch of the same bank.
According to a circular issued it said,
Delay in crediting pensioners account shall render the banks liable to compensate the government with use of funds for the period of delay. The amount of compensation shall be determined using the rate equivalent to 1.5 times of the prevailing Reverse Repo Rate (ceiling) applicable on date of credit.
The compensation shall be recovered by debiting the banks’ account with SBP BSC and crediting the Federal Government Account I (Non-Food).
Banks have been advised to follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by Finance Division, Government of Pakistan for time-to-time verification of pensioners.
The banking regulator continued to receive complaints from pensioners who are mainly senior citizens. It earlier issued warnings to banks last year to comply strictly with the rules of Direct Credit System within the banking operations to facilitate scores of pensioners through their bank branches.
Also, some banks are reluctant in opening bank accounts and providing banking facilities including ATM card, credit card, etc. to the senior citizens/pensioners on one pretext or another. Such discriminatory practices on the part of banks/MFBs are not acceptable and have been viewed seriously, the central bank stated in its circular issued last year.
It instructed all banks/MFBs to desist from such type of practices and provide banking facilities to the senior citizens/pensioners as per their laid down criteria without any discrimination.
Banks/MFBs are further advised to ensure that a high level of conduct is observed by all their employees while dealing with the senior citizens/pensioners. In general training of staff, special emphasis must be placed in dealing with senior citizens and pensioners. If any deviation is observed, appropriate disciplinary action should be taken against such employees.
Advice for Pensioners
The pensioners have been advised through notice boards/websites, etc. to lodge their complaints at BC & CPD helpdesk ([email protected]) of SBP or at this phone number (021) 111-727-273.