UAE banking body lauds ombudsman unit launch

Consumer trust in UAE banking to get a major boost: UBF


Issac John

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Published: Thu 14 Mar 2024, 8:58 PM

The launch of Sanadak, the first ombudsman unit to handle consumer complaints, is a landmark move reinforcing the nation’s status as a leading financial and banking center, the UAE Banks Federation (UBF) said.

The UBF, the sole representative of UAE banks, said the initiative of the Central Bank of the UAE represents a major milestone in its efforts to develop the financial service sector in the UAE and broader region under its direct supervision.

The UAE was ranked second globally and first in Asia, Africa, and Europe in consumer trust in banks in 2022. The consumers’ trust in the UAE banking sector has soared to 90 per cent in 2023, up from 84 per cent in 2022. The Arab world’s second-largest economy also outperformed the average global trust index and surpassed advanced global financial and banking centres.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, which surveys 32,000 people in 28 countries focused on innovation, The UAE is the world’s third most trusted country, with all four institutions, including the government, business, NGOs, and media retaining significant trust levels, a survey has revealed.

“The launch of Sanadak seeks to raise consumer’s trust and ensure their rights by enhancing an efficient and effective mechanism for receiving, processing, and settling consumer complaints transparently and impartially in line with the UAE leadership’s directive to enhance government services, and by the regulations set by the Central Bank of the UAE,” the UBF said, emphasising its commitment to ensuring full cooperation and support of its members with Sanadak.

Jamal Saleh, director-general of the UBF, said the pioneering initiative marks a crucial step towards ensuring consumer protection and nurturing trust within the financial services sector. “Sanadak is designed to act with impartiality, fairness, and transparency in resolving financial and insurance complaints between consumers and licensed financial institutions (LFIs) and insurance companies,” he said.

As the first legally independent Ombudsman unit, Sanadak’s focus is on safeguarding consumers’ rights and resolving complaints that arise from dealings with financial institutions and insurance companies.

“It is poised to set the pace for consumer complaint resolution through its clear, effective, and transparent processes as well as capabilities to expedite settlement of disputes amicably and at the best possible conditions for the concerned parties. By doing so, Sanadak will not only safeguard trust in the UAE’s financial services sector but also cement the UAE's status as a thriving global financial hub,” Saleh said.

“The UAE has ranked second globally and first in Asia, Africa, and Europe in consumer trust in banks in 2022, and the banking sector remains the most trusted sector in the UAE – thanks to the Central Bank of the UAE’s diligent guidance to ensure continued advancement of the sector to meet the growing needs and expectations of all individual and institutional customers,” Saleh said.

“Sanadak is committed to advancing financial inclusion, ensuring that all consumers have access to fair and efficient financial services. This is a valuable addition to UBF’s efforts as we believe in financial inclusion and providing the best banking products and services to all segments of banking consumers, particularly startups and SMEs, which play a major role in the economic and social development of the UAE, by increasing economic diversification and creating jobs,” he added.

He said the UBF will partner with financial institutions and insurance companies to achieve Sanadak’s objectives. The UBF will support efforts to further elevate the efficiency and integrity of the UAE’s financial ecosystem, providing the best possible conditions to customers to get secure and seamless banking services in line with the highest international standards, said Saleh.

The new unit aims to reduce the need to take claims to court. Consumers can submit their complaints via Sanadak's website or mobile application, while people with disabilities and senior citizens can also submit complaints through the Sanadak Contact Centre, or in person at the Abu Dhabi office.

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