Islamabad: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Thursday said banks should treat borrowers and cardholders with respect. Self-respect of people is more important than earning profits. The reputation of majority of banking institutions is at stake.
There are increasing complaints that banks are insulting and threatening borrowers as well as cardholders to ensure recoveries without considering the reasons behind short delay in payments. Similarly, recovery staff has started calling people after office hours and at weekends, even at midnights. Such tactics are in circumvention banking procedures, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President of the PEW.
The impression is growing that plastic cards are not facilitating but hurting masses. “Now, majority regard these cards as an instrument to extract maximum out of the pockets of masses after terrorizing them,” he said while speaking at a meeting.
A short delay in payments or a negligible unintentional default of few rupees results in heavy penalties, imposition of multiple interest rates, threats of criminal proceedings and warnings to close down the businesses. It seems that borrowers and cardholders have lost all rights to explain the factors behind any mistake. Challenging the amount of money claimed by banks or questioning any other move of banks has become impossible.
“Banks would lure a person by offering a free card and later charge him heavily on the pretext of processing and other fees,” said Dr. Murtaza Mughal adding that overcharging, hidden costs etc have become part of the business which is against the rules and moral philosophy of the business.
Many people, lured into business and relieved of hard-earned money, are running from pillar to post to avoid further highhandedness of banks but to no avail. Rude bankers have developed a habit of initiating any settlement dialogue with threats. It ends on threats too.
Banking concerns seems to be too much interested in making money, preferring results to ethics. This tendency has brought popularity down and the situation will continue until banks change their attitude towards masses or are barred by regulator from milking masses on one pretext or other.
Dignity of masses is important than the profits of depository financial institutions for which they congratulate themselves in advertisements. There would be no customers and no profits if the popularity of banking companies kept on dropping at the current rate. New products are being launched with focus on profits. Gone are the days when welfare of masses was also a consideration. “Irresponsible and immoral lending activities and objectionable marketing practices needs to be checked,” said Dr. Mughal.-PEW