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SBP Chief asks Banks to treat Consumers fairly

KARACHI: Financial institutions must ensure that their consumers are treated fairly, the State Bank’s governor said on Monday, emphasising that increase in consumer protection eventually promotes competition in the industry.

In his inaugural address to a seminar on Financial Consumer Protection, Ashraf Wathra underscored the responsibility of the board of directors and senior management of the banks in bringing a cultural shift to ensure fair treatment of the customers.

“The banks have to take a leading role in promoting and ensuring consumer protection,” he said.

The seminar, organised by the SBP under the auspices of Saarc Finance at National Institute of Banking and Finance (NIBAF) Islamabad, was attended by the participants from central banks of Saarc countries.

Local and foreign experts on the subject shared their views on financial consumer protection in banks and the importance to conduct supervision.

On the importance of transparency and public awareness, Wathra suggested that at the time of offering a product or service, banks should give adequate information to their customers so that they could take informed decision.

He urged the need for a robust, fair, unbiased and efficient complaints’ resolution mechanism within the banks.

Financial Consumer Protection should ideally rest on self-regulation complemented by regulatory reinforcement, he said.

He also highlighted the importance of market conduct supervision and enforcement and stated that SBP was cognisant of its responsibility and gave equal importance to both prudential regulation and conduct of supervision.

Published in Dawn January 20th , 2015

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