• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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FSDH Merchant Bank MD calls for more responsibility in banking to build consumer trust


To build consumer confidence and trust in the nation’s banking industry, players in the sector have been called upon to take greater responsibility in all areas of their services.

Hamda Ambah, MD/CEO, FSDH Merchant Bank who made the call during an interview with Business Day on the sideline of the 45th Quarterly General Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks (ACAEBIN) held in Lagos said players should take responsibility by going all out to provide customers with the right information.

She said the issue is about poor communication between banks and their customers, and therefore we have to take the responsibility to put out the right information.

“Sometimes, the problem is a misunderstanding for lack of the right information because, in the absence of information, we get misinformation.”

Ambah said: “you will see some elderly people who are not educated and they will give their ATM Cards to people they don’t even know. Please, my daughter, help me, this is the number. If the money now gets missing, is it really the bank’s fault? It’s not. But what we have to do is to take it as a responsibility to educate them that even if it is your child, don’t disclose your PIN number.”

According to her, this does not end with the non-educated, “I see some senior executives always giving their drivers or PA’s their ATM card to go and make withdrawals for them, instead of transferring the money to the persons account so that he or she could use his or her own ATM cards, she said.

Ambah also identified the issue of fear among bank’s staff, stating that maybe for fear of being punished by their superiors hide the error they committed against a customer, and by the time it is established the damage has gone far. It is better we accept responsibility at that time and begin to salvage the situation even before the customer becomes aware. That is confidence building, she said.

Speaking on the theme of the ACAEBIN Meeting: ‘Consumer Protection and the Role of Internal Audit Executives of Banks ’, Ambah said the most basic, yet fundamental ingredient on which banking thrives is trust.

She noted that the formal protection of the consumers of banking products has enormous potential to restore trust in the banking industry.

Ambah, while pointing out that consumer protection entails protecting the right of consumers from injustice and exploitation in the market place, says it goes beyond having catchy phrases that connote customer-centrism in the mission or vision statements, but more about having definitive processes to ensure transparent dealings with the consumers.

To the Internal Auditors, she noted that they have a major role of adding value to the consumer protection drive of their bank, stating that critical processes that support consumer protection should be reviewed and follow-up mechanism put in place to ensure that deficiencies noted are resolved by the responsible business units.

“If there is a proliferation of consumer complaints that casts a shadow over the confidence the banking public places on a bank, the question would be asked, where was the internal auditors”

“Internal Audit acting as a trusted advisor should provide valued advice to their management on consumer conflict resolution, she advised.