Has your bank deducted money from your account unjustifiably? Have you been denied interest on your savings or deposits? Have you had unauthorised ATM or POS transactions on your account? Or lost your savings to fraudsters? And has your bank refused to resolve the problems?
You can seek redress against the errant bank through the Central Bank of Nigeria, the regulator of the banking system and all financial institutions. Appealing to the CBN is like appealing to the Supreme Court.
However, the CBN Consumer Protection Department recommends that you first exhaust seeking redress in your bank.
Here is the Guide on how and where you can lodge a complaint against Financial Institutions regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria such as Commercial Banks, Microfinance Banks, Primary Mortgage Institutions and Discount Houses.
Contact Your Institution First
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a circular in 2011 directing all banks to expand their existing ATM HELP DESK to handle all types of consumer complaints.
Therefore, if you have a complaint against your bank, you MUST first report the complaint at the bank/branch where the issue originated and then allow 2 weeks (it might be less in some banks) for the issue to be resolved.
If Your Bank Fails To Resolve Your Complaint
If after lodging your complaint your Bank still fails to engage you and resolve the complaint within 2 Weeks as provided for in the ATM HELP DESK Circular, you have the right to escalate your complaint to the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) of the CBN.
Complaints to Consumer Protection Department
Note that you can only direct your Complaints to CPD upon the failure of your Bank/Financial Institution to resolve your complaint within the 2 weeks timeline given by the CBN.
Contacting Consumer Protection Department
You can contact the CPD through the following channels:
Letter: Director, Consumer Protection Department
Central Business District, Abuja.
Your letter of Complaint should be addressed to the Director, Consumer Protection Department. You can submit your letter at the CBN Head Office OR at any of the Central Bank of Nigeria branches nationwide. If you live in Lagos, the CBN has an office on Lagos Island. Physically drop the letter at the department. Workers there are receptive and will help you.
Does the CPD Deal with all Types of Complaints?
The CBN deals with all financial related complaints so far as it is against Financial Institutions within its regulatory purview.
How to Write an Effective Complaints Letter
Your complaint should be clear and concise to avoid ambiguity. The Complaint letter (petition) should contain amongst other things the following:
• Name, Address, Contact Phone Number & E-mail of the Complainant;
• Name of your Financial Institution;
• Personal banking details (Do NOT include PIN & Passwords, please;)
• History/Date of the transaction in dispute;
• Amount claimed (if any);
• Attach relevant documents to support your claim and;
• Evidence to show that you have first lodged the complaint at your bank.
If you do not want to write long grammar, the CBN on its website provides a template to lodge the complaint online. It’s just a click away:
P.M. NEWS however advises that letter writing works better.
*This article was first published by P.M.NEWS 21 June 2019.