Within a period of one year spanning January 1 to December 31 2020, 10 top banks in Nigeria recorded a total of 329,496 unresolved customer complaints.
The banks are Zenith, Guaranty Trust Bank, First City Monument Bank, United Bank of Africa, Access bank, Fidelity bank, Union bank, Sterling bank, Polaries and WEMA bank.
The figures were arrived at after analysing the 2020 annual financial report of the banks.
Recall that in November 2016, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued the Consumer Protection Framework with the aim to engender customers’ confidence in the financial system.
In addition, the CBN introduced the consumer protection regulation in 2019 which, among other things, seeks to provide guidelines for banks to deal with customer complaints.
The apex bank noted in a circular titled, “Issuance of Consumer Protection Regulation” and dated December 20 2019, that the objectives of the regulations are 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.
Despite these policies and regulations, banks continue to record high rate of unresolved complaints.
A breakdown of the figure of total unresolved complaints shows that during the period in review, Access bank recorded a total of 220,904 unresolved complaints out of 1.7m complaints received within year.
This means that a total of 1.6m complaints were resolved which cost the bank N2.25bn in customer claims.
For Fidelity bank, a total of 175,702 complaints were filed within the period in review.
Out of this figure, 83,899 were unresolved while 92,352 were resolved.
The bank’s annual report also disclosed that the sum of N3.7bn was refunded to customers out of N145.7bn claimed.
Further analysis showed that Union bank and Polaris Bank recorded 12,171 and 5,785 unresolved complaints, respectively.