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Bank customers’ complaints rise by 63%

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The complaints of five banks’ customers in 2023 increased by over 63.54 per cent to over 10 million from 6.12 million in the previous year.

According to The reporters analysis of their audited financial results filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited in recent weeks, more than half of the complaints came from the customers of one of the largest banks in the country.

The financial institutions reviewed in this report include Access Holdings, United Bank for Africa, Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Holding Company and Wema Bank.

In the year under review, the customers’ complaints that AccessCorp, Nigeria’s biggest bank, received rose by about 81.26 per cent to 5,120,653 from 2,824,979 in 2022.

The financial services group revealed that it was able to resolve 5,092,619 complaints, with the amount claimed to be N273.04bn, out of which N2.07bn was refunded.

In dollar terms, Access Group recorded 28,801 complaints involving $2.79bn and resolved 28,277 of them out of which it refunded $2,161.

In transactions involving the British pounds sterling, the group received 328 complaints, with £134.40m claimed, and 326 of the complaints were resolved.

In euros, 335 complaints were handled and resolved within the year, with the amount claimed standing at €9.88m.

For UBA, customers’ complaints more than doubled to 2,962,339 in 2023 from 1,408,062 in the corresponding year, with N178.08bn claimed.

The group was able to resolve a significant portion of the complaints at 2,317,974 and N450m was refunded.

During this period, no refunds were made in dollars or pounds sterling. However, the group said that 80 complaints were escalated to the Central Bank of Nigeria for intervention.

Days earlier, UBA unveiled a quick response solution code, called the ‘Scan to Resolve Complaint‘ Portal, aimed at enhancing satisfaction and swiftly addressing customers’ disputes.

The bank said that the ‘Scan to Resolve Complaint’ portal was a QR-code-based portal conceptualised by the bank to proffer timely solutions to customers’ challenges without them having to visit the bank branch.

Last year, Zenith Bank Plc saw the number of complaints go down by about 25.29 per cent to 355,210 from 475,499 in 2022 with N16.92bn claimed.

The lender had 169,797 pending complaints from 2022 and at the end of 2023, it was able to resolve 432,360 complaints and refund N15.486bn.

Similarly, GTCO’s customers’ complaints dropped in 2023 to 946,169 from 1,006,380 with about N5.016bn claimed.

It stated that the pending complaints brought forward were 9,217.

At the end of the year, 953,548 complaints were resolved with N277.45m refunded.

The financial group said that some of the outstanding complaints include dispense errors, uncredited NIP, erroneous transfers, etc.

In other currencies, GTCO customers claimed $202,617, £7,128 and €10.01m in complaints. Upon resolution, the group said that it refunded $2.816.

For Wema Bank, a tier 2 bank with tier 1 ambitions, the bank indicated that its customers’ complaints rose by about 54.03 per cent to 617,941 in 2023 from 401,179 in 2022.

Pending complaints from 2022 was 13,642 with N10.27bn claimed. At the end of the year, resolved complaints stood at 621,609 with about N11.26bn out of which N11.26bn was refunded.

The bank claimed that it “successfully reduced the average time taken to resolve customer complaints by 60 per cent compared to 2022, and the resolution rate increased from 93 per cent to 98 per cent demonstrating our commitment to improving the experience of our customers consistently and efficiently”.

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According to Wema Bank, the number of customers escalating unresolved complaints was significantly reduced and escalation from regulatory bodies, including the CBN reduced by 38 per cent.

In October 2023, the complaints of customers of five banks rose by 117 per cent to 6,865,217 year-on-year as of June 2023 from 3,156,704.

Financial claims arising from the various complaints in the review period stood at N326.11bn, up by 289 per cent compared to N83.78bn paid in claims in June 2022.

The CBN, in 2022, directed all lenders in the country to expand their existing ATM help desk to handle all types of consumer complaints.

Providing a guideline for bank customers to make a complaint, the apex bank asked them to start from the bank, “You must first report the complaint at the bank/branch where the issue originated and then allow two weeks (it might be less in some banks) for the issue to be resolved.

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