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Date Posted: 23:20:53 01/19/05 Wed
Author: JAVE

By javed - July 2003

Recently one Dr. Nishat Afza from Lahore through DAWN 17.5.2003 stated that she has so far not receivde her six monthly bank statement for the period ending 31 December 2002 from Habib despite lapse of more than 4 months. She says National Bank of Pakistan has on the other hand almost stopped issuance of these statements. She further says State Bank of Pakistan seemingly is doing nothing.

Each and every commercial Bank under the procedure issues six monthly statement twice a year to every account holder may it be current or PLS savings account. However, 90% saving account holders never get this statement. If some one approaches the Bank a standard reply is given that it was mailed to you at your official address. So point is where go all these statements?

Centralised computer databank of these Banks every six month churns out all six monthly statements and “in documents” these are despatched to each account holder and postage expense on this transaction is shown having been incurred. But in practice only 10% of these statements are physically despathed only to those conscientious people like Dr. Nishat who know getting six monthly statement was their right and on non receipt they do contact the Bank. Statements for the rest 90% lethargic and ignorant of their rights account holders are dumped on the strong room floor and money shown as having been spent on postage of these 90% dumped statement equally goes into the pockets of concerned Bank branch and postal staff who issues fake postal certificates to Branch.

I have struggled on this issue in the past. I offered the Federal Ombudsman that he could accompany me where I will take him to any such office staff of which gets salary through Bank and enquire from the staff coming out of the building did they get their statement and reply from 90% will be No. Even I requested if Federal Ombudsman cannot do this he can check with his own staff half of whom must have their bank accounts.

Maximum 10% only mail like letters, greeting cards get lost and 90% sooner or later do reach to the destination. So why it is that six monthly statements 90% get lost in mail and only 10% reach to the destination if actually those were ever posted? The answer to Dr. Nishat Afza’s question lies in this mystery.

State Bank is silent. If one raises any question with state bank concerning matters like frequent increase of locker rents etc the reply comes Banks have been given autonomous free hand and SBP has no control over them. On the other hand where SBP’s own interest comes it keeps on showing its writ and jurisdiction on commercial banks by issuing Prudential regulations etc and in then it does not give reply if banks are independent and it has not control over them then how it keeps issuing administrative enforcement circulars etc.

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