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Business News of Thursday, 16 March 2017


Consumers threaten boycott over unsatisfactory banking services

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Reviewing the high-interest rates on loans, improving ATM services as well as reducing the turnaround time at banking halls have emerged as some key concerns for customers of banks. They believe banks should be able to attract more clients and maintain existing ones in the wake of increased competition in the industry.

Following the World Consumer Rights Day on Wednesday, Citi Business News has been engaging some customers on their impressions of services offered by their banks and the general indication of dissatisfaction.

The consumer rights day offers an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers and a chance to protest against market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.

But the channels to demand value for money over unsatisfactory services have been limited if not unavailable with the spotlight on the banking industry, customers seem generally dissatisfied with their banks with some considering the option for new ones if the status quo remains unchanged.

Of concern to some civil service workers Citi Business News engaged, is the apparent high cost of credit and the complicated procedures applicants are subjected to.

“Their rates are high; where we are told that sometime in the UK we can probably get lending at 2% per annum the best you can get here is probably 3% a month per annum you are talking about 36 there about and it doesn’t help especially the start-ups,” one remarked. Another said, “I have a personal loan but the length of payment is too long but at least I am able to cope with it.”

However, for other customers, memorable but terrible experiences with their ATM cards will require that their banks sit up.

“If it will take me that long to get an ATM card it means that the services they are rendering are not up to standard and now there is a lot of competition in the market so I will expect that they treat the customers with care,” one said. “Last time I went to make a withdrawal and the money was counted but the money didn’t come. Instead of the bank to send a text message that there is a problem, nothing was done as more customers were just coming there with their complaints about the same issue.”

Well, it appears there is some hope for such customers with the Bank of Ghana’s consumer recourse mechanism.

The policy among others allows consumers to seek redress for complaints with the regulator in a timely and independent manner. But Economist, Prof. Godfred Bokpin wants consumer groups to intensify their lobbying to benefit from available interventions such as the recent tax cuts.

“Consumer protection in this country is very weak; even in the telecom industry where call credits run out without any explanations, what are the mechanisms to get them addressed.”

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