In order to ensure fair and equitable treatment of bank customers, particularly the politicians, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has devised the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to facilitate and streamline account opening process without compromising due diligence requirements prescribed under AML / CFT regime.
Bank officials hesitate in opening accounts of politicians following cases for illegal transactions and money laundering. Some politicians are denied services at bank branches while some were reported as defaulters of the banks for not paying back their loans.
The central bank was told about such complaints and it has come up with SOPs for banks, which are different from regular customers.
The bank, upon receiving an account opening request from renowned politicians, shall ensure that the basic requirements like Account Opening Form/Specimen Signature Card and Biometric Verification of the customer are completed on the same day.
On the same day, the person shall be guided regarding specific requirements/formalities required to open an account. Further, the concerned branch shall report the details of the request made by PEP to the focal person nominated by the bank.
Within two working days of receipt of documents from politicians, the bank shall inform him/her in writing, about the deficiencies, if any, in the documents or further clarifications required.
Once the deficiencies have been cleared and all due diligence requirements have been satisfactorily completed, account shall be opened by the bank within two working days.
In case the bank decides to refuse any request for account opening, the reasons for the refusal need to be conveyed in writing to the applicant within two working days, in line with the instructions issued by SBP.
The bank will need to maintain separate files of all approved and rejected cases of politicians. SBP inspection team can review the record, especially the rejected cases if required. The bank shall report the details of rejected cases of politicians to the Director, Banking Conduct & Consumer Protection Department of SBP on a monthly basis within 7 days of the close of every month.
Any politicians in disagreement with the bank’s decision may contact the bank’s focal person nominated for the purpose. Banks have already been advised to prominently display the contact details of their and SBP’s focal person for politician’s at their branches.
If the grievance of politicians is not resolved within 15 days after registration of their complaint with bank’s focal person or if they are not satisfied with the conclusion, then they may directly contact the focal person appointed by SBP.
The bank’s focal person shall maintain a proper MIS for all requests received from politicians (allocating a unique diary number) in order to monitor its progress at different stages.
The bank shall provide special assistance to politicians and treat them with respect and due care during the account opening process.
Banks are advised to immediately disseminate the abovementioned instructions down the line to all of their branches and business locations to ensure compliance of the same in letter and spirit. Any non-compliance would be strictly dealt with penal provisions of Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962.