BSP resolves 99.5% of bank complaints

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said it has resolved 99.5 percent of complaints and some inquiries or requests, from bank clients in 2013.

In a BSP report, the Financial Consumer Affairs Group (FCAG) has received 2,446 complaints/inquiries/requests or CIRs last year and of this total, 2,433 has been “substantially” acted upon. The central bank is mandated to respond and act on CIRs within 10 banking days.

The BSP said they have also successfully responded to 556 “complex cases” or about 99.8 percent of all complicated complaints which normally takes longer to resolve, about 30 days.

The central bank said improvements to procedures enabled them to achieve nearly 100 percent action rate. These improvements were done in the tracking system to meet the 10-day or 30-dat deadline, and the strict compliance with the Anti-Red Tape Act.

“(The) responsiveness of consumer specialists in addressing each financial consumer concern raised (were also enhanced),” said the BSP.

Last year the BSP participated in a diagnostic review of consumer protection in the banking sector with the assistance of the World Bank. The review assessed whether existing legal, regulatory, and institutional systems and practices pose significant barriers to effective consumer protection, said the BSP.

Since 2013, the BSP has started preparing a set of guidelines on consumer protection and how banks should address consumer complaints using specific standards.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said this move is aimed at elevating consumer protection to “a stature of a core bank function” and not simply an ancillary advocacy.

The central bank established what it called an “accessible avenue for consumer assistance and redress” in 2006 through the FCAG.

Tetangco described FCAG as a clearing hub for complaints and as a “redress mechanism”. “(This is for) those who have clearly been victimized through no fault of their own (and) do not have to suffer the added penalty of delayed attention,” he said earlier.