Sujit Mondal, a farmworker in a Satkhira village, opened an account in a government bank for a 10-year education savings scheme.
When Sujit went to the bank to withdraw money from his deposit scheme after its tenure ended, he came to know that a loan amounting to Tk80,000 had already been taken out against his scheme.
The day-labourer then lodged a complaint with the Bangladesh Bank, seeking a remedy. The central bank found evidence of fraudulence in withdrawing his money on the loan pretext. Sujit got back his money and the accused banker got punished.
In another case, DH Euro, a company based in Seoul, South Korea, supplied goods worth $1.26 crore to a Bangladeshi organisation, but the LC issuing bank was loitering in making the import payment. The company filed a complaint with the central bank and the issuing bank was forced to make the payment.
The Bangladesh Bank received around 5,500 complaints in the fiscal 2018-19 and settled almost all. The number of complaints in that fiscal year was lower than in the preceding fiscal year, according to the annual report published by the Financial Integrity and Customer Services Department (FICSD) of the central bank on Wednesday.
According to the report, customers complained over the phone, in writing, through online and mobile app. Half of the complaints were in the written forms and over 43% using the central bank's telephone hotline number.
Most complaints were filed against private banks – the number was more than 50%. About 20% of complaints were made against government banks and about 18% against financial institutions.
The highest number of complaints came against state-owned Sonali and Janata banks. The complaints that were filed against Standard Chartered and Mercantile Bank were mostly resolved.
The report said in the fiscal 2018-19, many parties filed 184 writ petitions and cases against the central bank for various reasons, including exemption from being defaulters, rescheduling of loans, suspension of auctions. Many of these cases have been dismissed.
In the report, Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir said the settlement of a significant number of complaints during the fiscal 2018-19 proves that the central bank is making efforts to protect customers' interests while maintaining discipline and transparency in the country's overall financial sector.
Analysing the number of complaints and the settlement rate, it has been found that almost all the complaints received by the central bank regarding banking services are being settled. Not a single complaint gets stuck.
For example, a bank employee swindled Tk5 crore out of the savings account of Ferdousi Zaman, wife of an expatriate. Ferdousi got his money back with the help of the central bank.
Khairul Alam was unjustly fired while working as an executive officer of a Sharia-based bank. He got his job back when he turned to the central bank, seeking redressal.
Bangladesh Bank Executive Director and Spokesperson Sirajul Islam told The Business Standard that the Bangladesh Bank is always active in protecting the interests of the customers. They take actions after verifying any complaints from customers.
Most complaints were settled over the telephone from the central bank office concerned, he said adding in some cases, they inspect banks when it is required.
When asked about the number of complaints and the rate of settlement in the fiscal 2019-20, he said, "It will be known as soon as the report is released."
He hopes that the rate of complaint settlement will be 100% in the last fiscal year as well.