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President asks banks to secure customers’ deposits, data

Asks them to take customers complaints seriously to avoid delay, unnecessary litigation

President Dr Arif Alvi Tuesday has urged banks to ensure fool-proof security of the deposits and personal data of account holders keeping in view the increasing number of cybercrimes the world over.

Chairing a meeting with heads of various banks including the State Bank of Pakistan to review the innovations and developments taking place in the banking sector, the president emphasized that all kinds of complaints of customers should be taken seriously to avoid delay and unnecessary litigation as well as wastage of time and money.

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Led by SBP Governor Dr Reza Baqir, the bankers’ team included the presidents of National Bank of Pakistan, United Bank Limited, Muslim Commercial Bank, Allied Bank Limited, Faisal Bank Limited, Habib Bank Limited, Soneri Bank Limited, Khyber Bank Limited, Dubai Bank Islami, Meezan Islamic Bank and the Bank of Punjab.

The president was briefed about the policy and structural reforms in the banking sector with a special focus on bringing transparency and improving efficiency. The meeting was also updated on ensuring financial inclusion of women as well as the people living in remote and under-developed areas of the country. It was informed that the banks had streamlined their systems to quickly address the customers’ complaints.

The meeting was apprised that the quantum of the complaints was lesser in digital banking as compared to traditional banking system. Addressing the meeting, the president urged the banks to resolve the customers’ complaints on priority  as the banks were custodians of their money. He stated that the complaints of the customers should be resolved on fast-track basis and the customers should be educated about banking procedures so as to protect them from electronic frauds.

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The president also advised the banks to resolve customer complaints at their end to reduce burden on the Banking Ombudsman of Pakistan and Banking Courts as well as the President’s Secretariat. He asked the banks to strengthen their vigilance and internal control systems to effectively protect the interest of the customers. He also called upon the banks to cooperate with Cyber Crimes Cell of Federal Investigation Agency and other law enforcing agencies to check electronic frauds and cybercrimes.

The SBP Governor Dr. Reza Baqir informed the president that during the first quarter of the current fiscal year ( July-Sept) 29% growth in mobile banking was witnessed  against the corresponding period of last financial year. Similarly, 31% growth was seen in internet banking in the same period. The president appreciated the banks’ initiatives for financial inclusion of women. On this occasion, Banking Ombudsman of Pakistan Muhammad Kamran Shahzad also presented the Annual Performance Report-2021 of his organization. President Alvi also held a hearing of representations filed by NBP against UBL and the orders of the Banking Ombudsman.

Also, President Alvi on Tuesday stressed the need of producing information technology (IT) professionals to fulfill the market requirements. He said there are many opportunities in data, cyber security, artificial intelligence and other areas of the IT sector. With cyber security becoming a big phenomenon, he added, the world would need some 8 million cyber security professionals by 2030. Likewise, he said, artificial intelligence was embedded in every human endeavour. There was a huge data available in the world, but there was a dire need to analyses it, the president added.

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