By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
COMMERCIAL banks should stop conning customers by not being open with terms and conditions which are most punitive and usually written in fine prints at the bottom of a page when one is applying for a loan.
Clients should know exactly what they are bargaining for, says Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Chipoka Mulenga, who observed that some financial service providers had a tendency of not being transparent in their dealings with clients.
The minister said this when a team from NATSAVE bank led by the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Malcom Chabala paid a courtesy call on him recently.
“I have seen this thing from banks where if you have applied for a loan there are some certain big figures and before the end of the page there is a very fine print which you do not pay attention to and those are the most punitive parts.
“That is cunning, there should be utmost transparency in how we do business. Clients should know exactly what they are bargaining. We need to treat each other right,” Mr Mulenga stated.
He emphasised the need for players in the financial sector to be more transparent with their clients.
Mr Mulenga complained about the time limit for financial service providers in accessing loans.
“Your service delivery must be good. Work with excellency and efficiency. When I talk about efficiency, the speed at which you process loans, it cannot just be business as usual.
“So when I come to your office and apply for a K5000 loan, give it to me, do not give me K4800. I ask about the K200, you say it is processing fee. There are these hidden things..we need to be open about how we do these things,” he said.
Mr Mulenga also complained that the banking sector in Zambia had choked much of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) from growing.
“What has limited the growth of business in Zambia is access to loans. It is unacceptable to get a loan in this country, before you even start paying for it there is negative charge by the bank from the money you have borrowed,” he stated.