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UAE Banks Federation adopts customer charter

Voluntary code representing desire of all banks to meet consistently high standards.

The UAE Banks Federation, a professional representative body representing 50 member banks operating in the UAE, has adopted a set of clear guidelines to provide bank customers in the UAE with the standards of service they can expect from their banks.

The “Customer Charter” also contains details of the responsibilities that customers are expected to abide by to ensure that banks are able to provide them with secure and appropriate products and services.

The Charter is the result of the work done by a UAE Banks Federation specialised committees over the past year. The commitment of the Federation to adopt a set of voluntary guidelines relating to customer rights and responsibilities was announced when it issued the UAE Banks Federation Code of Conduct in September 2013.

While the Code of Conduct seeks to maintain and further raise the professional standards of banking practice and to promote greater trust in the UAE banking industry, the Customer Charter reflects standards of service that banks aim to offer customers, while setting out responsibilities of customers to enable their banks to serve them effectively. Taken together, these two documents underpin the standards that the UAE banking industry as a whole strives to attain.

The Customer Charter draws upon international best practice and commits UAE Banks Federation member banks to know their customers as individuals, to understand their needs and provide full information about products and services that will meet their requirements appropriately. It also outlines the regulations that banks need to abide by, requires banks to handle complaints efficiently and protect customer information. It also sets out the responsibilities of customers to assist bank staff in understanding their needs clearly by providing requested information, including details about their identity and financial situation, and keeping personal information and details secure, such as account numbers, PIN and other access codes.

His Excellency Abdulaziz Al-Ghurair, Chairman of the UAE Banks Federation, said: “All UAE Banks Federation member banks set themselves high ethical standards, because they know that trust among their customers is essential to their success. This Charter brings together in one place the commitments that customers can and should expect from their banks, whoever they bank with in the UAE. But it also clarifies what customers need to do in return to ensure that the services they receive are appropriate for them, to be clear about their needs, careful with the personal banking details, and open about anything they don’t understand in the services being offered to them.”

The Customer Charter underlines the need for banks to have efficient complaint handling arrangements and to take a reasonable and responsible approach to customers who find themselves in financial difficulties.

While some banks have adopted their own standards of advice to and service of customers which are equivalent to the Customer Charter, the guidelines issued by the UAE Banks Federation and adopted by its members ensure that a minimum baseline exists for the banking industry as a whole for customers’ information and the support they can expect from all banks.

The Customer Charter will be monitored and reviewed by the UAE Banks Federation on a regular basis to ensure that the standards outlined are being met and that new areas of activity are added as required.