The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Thursday again asked banks to avoid discriminatory practices against any segment of society including Politically Exposed Persons. The SBP has also advised banks/DFIs to display placards in branches at prominent places with contact details of a focal person to attend to the issues of Politically Exposed Persons.
Sources said that despite SBP's clear-cut directives, complaints have been received that some segments of society including legislators are still deprived of complete banking services on the basis of different factors including their status as Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs). Therefore, one again SBP has directed banks for avoiding discriminatory practices against any segment of society. According to SBP, it was advised to banks/DFIs to put in place an internal mechanism for speedy handling of complaints relating to discrimination in provision of financial services to certain categories of customers, in particular Politically Exposed Persons.
In this regard, banks/DFIs are also advised to display placard in branches at prominent places providing the address, phone & fax number and email address of their focal person to attend to the issues of Politically Exposed Persons. The display should also provide the contact details of focal person of State Bank for resolution of complaints of Politically Exposed Persons through State Bank.
The SBP has also drawn attention of the banks/DFIs towards previous Circular No. 1 dated February 29, 2016 wherein the Banks/DFIs were advised to adopt effective and efficient "contact points" for consumer complaints handling. The SBP has also re-emphasized on banks/DFIs to place the "contact points" address, phone & fax numbers and email address on the displayed placard to ensure that the customers are well informed of these "contact points" for lodging their general complaints. Similarly, as per SBP directives the banks/DFIs will also display the contact details of the Banking Mohtasib on the placard to approach for escalating their general complaints. In a circular BC&CPD Circular Letter No. 01 of 2019, SBP has again advised the banks/DFIs to ensure meticulous compliance of instructions issued in this regard and avoid adopting discriminatory practices against any segment of society including Politically Exposed Persons. The State Bank has already strictly asked banks that denial of financial services is highly undesirable and against the SBP's instructions as SBP prohibits discrimination on the basis of specific occupation, trade, region, gender and other factors while providing financial services in normal course of business.