The Prime Minister of Pakistan chaired a meeting of National Coordination Committee on Housing, Construction and Development (NCCHCD) in Islamabad today. Governor State Bank, Dr. Reza Baqir, presented key features of an online complaint resolution mechanism developed by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to resolve complaints of potential customers under Government’s Markup Subsidy Scheme for affordable housing. The Prime Minister appreciated the development of a user friendly and comprehensive complaint resolution mechanism to assist common persons who would like to borrow under this Scheme. The complaint resolution mechanism comprises an IT based portal supported by a comprehensive network of State Bank and commercial bank staff to take care of problems faced by applicants of low cost and affordable housing finance. The IT portal has been made live for registration of complaints. This major initiative will help financially excluded low and middle-income segments who often find it difficult to access the formal financial sector, which is a key goal of the SBP. The system will help in resolving complaints within a predefined timeline with proper escalation mechanism.
The potential customers can already access existing systems and procedures of banks for resolution of their complaints. The complaint resolution mechanism developed by State Bank is a move to improve effectiveness and transparency in complaint redressal process.
In line with Government’s vision of making housing finance affordable, State Bank has, on October 12, 2020, issued Government’s Mark-up Subsidy for Housing Finance to facilitate provision of subsidized finance to low and middle-income individuals. The features of Markup Subsidy Facility can be seen at https://www.sbp.org.pk/smefd/circulars/2020/C11.htm.
The State Bank is making efforts with the support of banking industry to ensure that the benefits of the markup subsidy scheme reaches targeted customers of banks who currently do not own a house. On the advice of State Bank of Pakistan, the banks have designated around 50% of their branches for provision of financing under this facility. With this, more than 7,700 branches of banks across the country have been designated to process financing of approaching customers under this scheme, while rest of the branches in the network will act as referral points for the designated branches.
With the launch of portal, customers can now register their concerns by simply putting minimum details on the online service portal accessible at https://servicedesk.sbp.org.pk/. A short video is also available on this portal to explain how complaints may be lodged and followed up. In case applicants face difficulties in using this portal or need further clarification they are welcome to visit the offices of SBP BSC in 15 major cities where special Help Desks are available to guide and assist, list of offices is available at https://www.sbp.org.pk/sbp_bsc/FieldOff.asp. In order to facilitate resolution of complaints received under the Markup Subsidy Service Portal, State Bank has created a network of regional focal persons in State Bank BSC regional offices. The banks have also nominated their regional focal persons across the regions in the country where State Bank offices are present.
To ensure the complaint resolution mechanism resolves issues in a timely manner, it is going to be monitored at the highest level within the State Bank. Low cost housing finance customers are encouraged to record their complaints if they experience any difficulty in their loan application with commercial banks.