After weeks of complaints, Republic Bank has announced plans to compensate customers who suffered as a result of its recent conversion process.
The conversion had caused long lines and delays and prompted statements from the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Guyana – the latter is the regulator.
Yesterday, hours after Bank of Guyana (BoG)’s Governor, Dr. Gobind Ganga, said on Wednesday that penalties are being explored, and that the Trinidad-owned bank is working on a number of measures.
“Importantly, at the bank’s Annual General Meeting on December 9th 2019, Chairman, Nigel Baptiste, announced that the bank is working on measures to compensate customers for the inconvenience experienced as result of the conversion to the new banking platform.”
The bank which controls the largest market shares, made it clear that it is reaffirming its commitment to fully resolve all new banking system-related issues by mid-December (this weekend) as indicated.
“With ongoing emphasis to improve transaction efficiency, customers can access their accounts via the Bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where a higher single transaction limit of $100,000 is now available.”
The statement disclosed that 82% of the bank’s Point-of-Sale terminals are now operable, facilitating customers’ payments at merchants, “while we continue to address those outstanding for earliest availability”.
At the branches, Republic Bank said it has redirected resources to ensure maximum support with a new swipe card feature greatly reducing the need for completion of vouchers for some withdrawals and deposits.
“Payrolls received to date have been processed and we are utilizing currently four payroll processing options to ensure that our valued customers have on time access to their salaries and bonus payments.”
The bank assured that wire transfers are also being processed.
“Our customer education efforts and Call Centre support are ongoing, even as we note the steady reduction in the demand for these. Customer Focus remains our priority and we are committed to ensuring that any inconvenience experienced by our customers and stakeholders is resolved soonest.”
On Wednesday, Dr. Ganga said BoG is currently exploring ways of sanctioning Republic Bank over the plethora of problems experienced by customers when the institution recently upgraded its digital software. The regulator acknowledged that while it may be without legal standing, it will firstly opt for moral persuasion.
The BoG is scheduled to meet today with the Guyana Association of Bankers (GAB) over the matter.
Dr. Ganga said he is looking to have legislation in place to avoid a recurrence.
He said the regulator has been working continuously with the bank in “addressing the issue to make it more acceptable to public”.
According to Dr. Ganga, it is “hoped that when the new platform is in place that they will be able to compensate customers in some way or the other.”
Asked about penalties that can be levelled against Republic Bank over the disruptions to its service, the BoG Governor said, “Republic Bank is forcing us in that direction.”
Republic Bank (Guyana) began the implementation of a new banking platform to take effect on November 4, 2019, but experienced countrywide problems and shutdowns that led to thousands of lost man-hours and business transactions.
Dr. Ganga told Kaieteur News that the authorities were still assessing the total losses and economic impact of the software glitch.
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