Within a period of one year spanning January 1 to December 31, 2020, four top banks in Nigeria recorded a total of 477,405 unresolved customer complaints.
The banks are Zenith, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank for Africa and Access Bank.
The figures were arrived at after analysing the 2020 annual financial reports of the banks.
The reports also revealed that the number of unresolved complaints carried forward by the banks in 2021 grew by 172,399 from 305,791 recorded in December 2020.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had in November 2016 issued the Consumer Protection Framework with the aim of engendering customers’ confidence in the financial system.
Later in 2019, the apex bank introduced the consumer protection regulation 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”, dated December 20 2019, that the regulations were meant 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.
The regulations were meant to tackle the provision of inadequate and misleading information and/or failure to disclose material information; by ensuring access to complaints redress mechanisms that are “free, fair, timely, transparent, accessible and independent” among others.
Despite these policies and regulations, banks continue to record a high rate of unresolved complaints.
A breakdown of the total unresolved complaints by the four banks shows that during the period in review, Access bank received a total of 2.2m customer complaints.
The bank said that 2.1m was resolved but pending complaints carried over from the previous year brought unresolved complaints at the end of 2021 to 306,116 unresolved complaints out of 2.2m complaints received within year.
For Zenith bank, a total of 166,314 complaints remained unresolved as of December 2021. This figure is almost double the amount recorded in 2021 (83,899).
GTB recorded a total of 673.7m complaints attached to claims of N3.09bn.
While about 672.1m complaints were successfully addressed, unresolved complaints stood at 1,605 owing to carried-over cases.
In addition, the bank noted that the sum of N365.5m was refunded to customers during the year.
UBA disclosed in its annual report for 2021 that it received a total of 464,391 complaints in 2021, 461,162 were resolved, 3,370 remain pending while 38 escalated to the CBN for intervention.