BNM mulls customer index for financial service providers

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is considering publishing the outcome of financial service providers’ customer service index to generate long-term benefit to consumers by helping them to make informed decisions and exercise their right of choice.

Over time the survey findings will drive the industry’s performance measurement, said BNM governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim, adding that competition will also “drive players to up their game”.

The index will rank the financial institution in terms of its customer service. The central bank is understood to be working on the index and no timeline has been fixed for its introduction.

Muhammad highlighted the index in his speech yesterday at the launch of the Ombudsman for Financial Services (OFS) scheme which provides financial consumers with a user-friendly and efficient redress mechanism to resolve disputes.

The governor said the scheme will further strengthen consumer confidence and market discipline in the financial sector.

“Over the past 12 years, the OFS has helped to resolve close to 25,000 financial disputes. It saved significant costs and time for both consumers and financial service providers. Assuming a cost of about RM15,000 to resolve a case through a court proceeding, it will translate to a cost saving of RM375 million,” said Muhammad.

He said the OFS will also have an important role in identifying systemic issues and serious misconduct, and highlighting these issues to financial service providers and the regulator where appropriate.

Muhammad said BNM handled 6,695 banking and insurance complaints in 2015, compared with 7,197 in 2014. The central bank expects the number to come down further as financial service providers enhance and improve their complaints handling practices.

The primary mandate of the OFS, formerly known as the Financial Mediation Bureau, is to settle disputes between consumers and its members who are financial service providers licensed or approved by BNM.

Its members include banks, Islamic banks, insurance companies and takaful operators, financial advisers and other financial institutions. The organisation is independent, impartial and its services are free of charge.

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