by Samuel Sukhnandan
In light of the numerous issues faced by Republic Bank customers since the bank upgraded its systems, Central Bank Governor, Dr. Gobind Ganga today announced that there is active consideration of official penalties for such problems.
The Governor said while there are no provisions within the current laws to penalize the banks, the issue will come up for discussion with the Guyana Association of Banks (GAB) when the Central Bank meets the Association later this week to examine issues facing the local banking sector.
“Republic Bank is forcing us in that direction not only with respect to their current conduct but in their future conduct…This will be across the banking system. This is not something for one individual…We are not threatening anybody. We want to put things out in the open. We will say this is what is expected of you, and if you are not going to do what you are required to do, then this will be the penalty,” he said.
Dr. Ganga said there are a number of people who have expressed disappointment in terms of the conduct of the bank with respect to its new platform.
“The Central Bank has also been disappointed. The Central Bank has been in contact with Republic Bank to ensure that they are putting the necessary structure in place. But I should tell you, they have been very, very slow,” he added.
According to the Central Bank Governor, during the last meeting he had with the Managing Director of Republic Bank Amral Khan, it was explained that the bank is doing its best to rectify the issues that are affecting customers.
However, the governor said the BoG is still not pleased and is not prepared to accept that statement.
“And so we are ensuring that they continuously addressing this issue to make it more…I would say acceptable to the public. We are hoping that when this new platform is put into place, that they will be able to compensate the customer, some way or the other for all the discomfort they would have caused.”
Only a few weeks ago, Government called on Republic Bank to put better systems in place to address the numerous issues being faced by thousands of customers across the country.
Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency Joseph Harmon said the bank must be prepared to put whatever mechanisms in place to ensure that the issues are rectified at the earliest time possible.
After several issues encountered by customers, the bank issued a statement on November 28 admitting that several challenges have been experienced since the upgrade of its system on November 4.
In that statement, Republic Bank promised to have the issued fully resolved by the mid-December.
As part of the upgrades, the bank converted over 15 banking applications/systems including the core banking platform, the wire transfer solution, internet banking solution, debit and credit card issuing solution.
It also launched a new mobile banking facility and a new credit card acquiring capability.
After completion of the upgrades, many of the bank’s customers have been complaining of difficulty in accessing services through the new internet banking and mobile banking services.
Complaints have also been made about delays in the processing of payrolls and wire transfers as well as lengthy delays in the completion of some transactions at the banks.