IN the space of one year, commercial banks in Nigeria recorded 329,496 unresolved customer complaints.
The banks are Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, First City Monument Bank, Fidelity Bank, Union Bank, Sterling Bank, WEMA bank, Polaris bank, Access Bank, Union Bank and United Bank of Africa.
The 2020 annual financial report of the banks, showed that the unresolved complaints were recorded between January 1 and December 31 2020.
A breakdown of the figure which pointed out total unresolved complaints showed that during the period in review, Access Bank had a total of 220,904 unresolved complaints out of 1.7m complaints received within a year.
This indicates that a total of 1.6m complaints were resolved which according to the report, cost the bank N2.25bn in customer claims.
Fidelity bank, recorded a total of 175,702 filed complaints within the period, of which 83,899 were unresolved while 92,352 were resolved.
The bank’s annual report also showed that the sum of N3.7bn was refunded to customers out of N145.7bn claimed.
Further analysis showed that Polaris Bank and Union Bank recorded 5,785 and 12,171 unresolved complaints, respectively.
In November 2016, the Central Bank of Nigeria had issued Consumer Protection Framework to engender customers’ confidence in the financial system.
Also, CBN introduced the consumer protection regulation in 2019 which also seeks to provide guidelines for banks to deal with customer complaints.
The CBN noted in a circular titled, “Issuance of Consumer Protection Regulation” dated December 20 2019, that the objectives of the regulations was to protect consumers from unfair and exploitative practices by institutions in their dealings with the consumers.
“It was also targeted at checking unethical and predatory practices that undermine consumer confidence in the use of financial products and services; against the provision of inadequate and misleading information and/or failure to disclose material information; by ensuring access to complaint redress mechanisms that are free, fair, timely, transparent, accessible and independent among others,” the CBN said.
Despite these policies to protect consumer’s rights, banks continue to record high rate of unresolved complaints.