WINDHOEK – Consumers within the financial services sphere are becoming more and more educated particularly with regard to knowing and understanding their rights as customers. This, according to the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa), is evident from the number of consumer complaints that have been steadily increasing on an annual basis.
Namfisa figures indicate that the number of coamplaints this year so far stand at just over 950 compared to merely 368 complaints barely five years ago. In 2014 this figure stood at 550, in 2015 at 712 and in 2016 at almost 800 complaints.
At a Namfisa event in the capital this week, acting General Manager of Market Conduct, Hilka Alberto, said it is a good sign that consumers are getting more educated and knowing and understanding their rights and responsibilities in financial services. According to Alberto, Namfisa’s Market Conduct department aims to resolve 80 percent of complaints at the end of each quarter. The department focuses on areas of effective and efficient complaints resolutions, ensuring consumer satisfaction, ensuring change in the geographical source of complaints as well as a change in the use of additional complaints channels, and to improve knowledge and skills. During the media event, Alberto emphasised that consumer satisfaction is one of the most important factors in business.
Namfisa was established to supervise financial institutions and financial services and to advise the Minister of Finance on matters relating to financial institutions and services. One of the authority’s objectives is to improve customer engagement and have knowledgeable and continuously satisfied customers that are effectively engaged in a stable and fair financial system.
According to Absalom Kapenda, Namfisa’s General Manager of Strategy and Projects, Namfisa’s vision is to provide a safe, stable and fair financial system contributing to the country’s economic development where consumers are protected which in turn will result in increased customer satisfaction.
Namfisa’s complaints department supports the core function of the organisation by receiving and resolving complaints from customers of financial services against regulated entities. This in turn contributes to consumer education. Some of the more common complaints received by this department include over-charging, extended repayment periods, repudiation of death claims, funeral and disability benefits claims and repudiation of motor vehicle accident claims.