The Central Bank in the UAE is a government owned institution that manages the national currency and monetary policy in addition to regulating the banking sector. It is responsible for keeping banking customers in the loop, working towards protecting consumer rights as well as moderating discussions related to issues that may arise between the member banks and their customers.

The Customer Contact Center of the Central Bank handled thousands of complaints and inquiries through customer visits and calls last year. Of the issues raised, the Central Bank listed the following as the top concerns of banking customers in the UAE in its 2018 annual report:

  • Debt level management
  • The denial or delay of issuance of necessary documentation by banks
  • Aggressive credit card selling and lack of disclosures
  • Issues relating to opening, operating and closing of bank accounts
  • Issues regarding the remittance of funds

Interpreting the concerns

Banks and other financial institutions set stiff targets for sales executives. In a bid to meet these targets some bank representatives aggressively push products that fetch revenue. Hence the credit card sales tactics.

Misleading information and overcharging for products and transactions is also quite common. The fine print should precisely indicate all details and any fee that a financial intuition levies should be clearly mentioned.

Other issues such as rejections and delays may be the result of slip ups and require regular quality checks.

[Related: How to raise a complaint with your car insurance provider]

How to secure yourself against misconduct

In its attempt to reinforce customer confidence, the Consumer Protection Department of the Central Bank is constantly developing new measures to protect consumers against impropriety by financial institutions. The CPD also held forth important financial topics in several public forums in 2018 to promote consumer education and awareness.

From its end, the Consumer Protection Department is addressing the recurrent consumer complaints with financial institutions and will take enforcement measures where required. Meanwhile, adopting safe banking habits is as much the responsibility of the customers. Here is what you can do to shield yourself from unfair practices.

  1. Advertisements can often be misleading and fine print too easy to ignore. Make it a point to be very specific in what you need. Don’t readily agree with all suggestions that come from the agents. Cross check every detail in the documents before signing.
  2. It is ironic, but an institution you bank with already has most of your personal details. This makes it easy for sales executives to harass you and difficult for you to avoid them. You can still be forthright about whether or not you are interested in a product. For financial institutions you have never dealt with, you must be careful not to reveal any specific personal or financial information.
  3. Do your own product analysis. Keep a copy of brochures and other documents for reference.
  4. Don’t shy away from filing a complaint if you face a problem. The Consumer Protection Department of the Central Bank has been set up for this very purpose. They can help you resolve your problem as well as hold the financial institution accountable for unfair practices.