Commercial Banks Asked to Stop Discriminating Against Politically Affiliated Customers

Some commercial banks are reluctant to provide banking service,s including advancing loans, to prominent political leaders and workers, mainly to avoid the possibility of non-performing loans on the balance sheet.

However, the central bank has issued strict directives warning banks to avoid any discriminatory treatment. It has been observed banks usually avoid issuing loans or credit cards to political leaders, workers, and salaried class individuals mainly police officials, lawyers and journalists because of the fact the credit history of such individuals are not good in their record.

Further, they face extra pressure when it comes to recovery of the loans as per schedule. Hence banks usually deny providing services to these segments of customers.

The central bank has time to time received complaints and tried to impose its regulations to no avail.

Now, the central bank has asked banks to put in place an internal mechanism for speedy handling of complaints relating to discrimination in the provision of financial services to certain categories of customers, in particular Politically Exposed Persons.

In this regard, banks/DFIs have also been advised to display a placard in branches at prominent places providing the address, phone & fax number and email address of their focal person to attend the issues of Politically Exposed Persons.

The display should also provide the contact details of the focal person of State Bank of Pakistan, provided in the aforesaid circular, for resolution of complaints of Politically Exposed Persons through State Bank of Pakistan.

The banks/DFIs were advised to adopt effective and efficient “contact points” for consumer complaints handling.

The banks/DFIs are re-emphasized to also place the “contact points” address, phone & fax numbers and email address on the displayed placard to ensure that the customers are well informed of these “contact points” for lodging their general complaints. Similarly, the banks/DFIs shall also display the contact details of the Banking Mohtasib on the placard to approach for escalating their general complaints.