By Babajide Komolafe
THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has enjoined bank customers to follow due process of lodging complaints against banks and other financial institutions.
Meanwhile, the apex bank received 1,473 complaints between January and June last year, from consumers of financial services relating to excess charges, fraud, dishonoured guarantees, unauthorized deductions/transfers against banks and other financial institutions.
The apex bank stated that in the first half of 2016: “A total of 1,157 complaints were resolved/closed in the period including some that were received prior to the review period.
Total claims during the period amounted to N6.75 billion, $81,023.00 and €19,414.62 while the sums of N4.63 billion, $80,415.46 and €19,263.62, were refunded by financial institutions to their customers.
In a bid to enlighten encourage members of the banking public customers on how to lodge complaints against banks and other financial institutions, the CBN issued a guideline on complaint management.
Complaints Management: This is a Guide on how and where you can lodge a complaint against Financial Institutions regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria such as Commercial Banks, Microfinance Banks, Primary Mortgage Institutions and Discount Houses.
Contact Your Institution First
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a circular in 2011 directing all banks to expand their existing ATM HELP DESK to handle all types of consumer complaints.
Therefore, if you have a complaint against your bank, you MUST first report the complaint at the bank/branch where the issue originated and then allow 2 weeks (it might be less in some banks) for the issue to be resolved.
If your bank fails to resolve your complain
If after lodging your complaint your Bank still fails to engage you and resolve the complaint within 2 weeks as provided for in the ATM HELP DESK Circular, you have the right to escalate your complaint to the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) of the CBN.
Complaints to Consumer Protection Department, CPD
You can only direct your Complaints to CPD upon the failure of your Bank/Financial Institution to resolve your complaint within the 2 weeks timeline given by the CBN.
Contacting Consumer Protection Department: You can contact the CPD through the following channels: E-mail: email@example.com
Letter: Director, Consumer Protection Department Central Business District, Abuja.
Your letter of Complaint should be addressed to the Director, Consumer Protection Department. You can submit your letter at the CBN Head Office OR at any of the Central Bank of Nigeria branches nationwide.
Does the CPD Deal with all Types of Complaints?
The CBN deals with all financial related complaints so far as it is against Financial Institutions within its regulatory purview.
How to Write an Effective Complaints Letter
Your complaint should be clear and concise to avoid ambiguity. The Complaint letter (petition) should contain amongst other things the following:
- Name, Address, Contact Phone Number & E-mail of the Complainant;
- Name of your Financial Institution;
- Personal banking details (Do NOT include PIN & Passwords, please;)
- History/Date of the transaction in dispute;
- Amount claimed (if any);
- Attach relevant documents to support you claim and;
- Evidence to show that you have first lodged the complaint at your bank.
You can make your further inquiries and obtain additional information on the Complaints Handling Process of the Central Bank of Nigeria from the Complaints Unit of your Bank/Financial Institution or from CBN offices nationwide.
Contact Financial Vanguard Bank Customers’ forum. In addition to the above, you can also write to Financial Vanguard’s Bank Customers forum. The forum will assist in contacting the institution concerned for speedy resolution of the complaint.