By: Brian Katjaerua, CEO
The Bankers Association of Namibia (BAN) has learned through media platforms of the above planned march against banks on 25 August 2023, organized under the auspices of an organization calling itself “National Ownership Association”. We are informed that the protest is against, amongst others, “the captured civil litigation system and home repossessions”. The protest brief appears to suggest that this protest is against commercial banks, Bank of Namibia, and lawyers.
Our statement is only limited to the attack on commercial banks. We do not purport to represent any other institution or person that is not a member of BAN. In response thereto, we would like to stress that BAN respects and recognizes people’s rights to assemble peacefully within the framework of the law and so also each person’s constitutional right to freedom of expression and association. Furthermore, the allegations of home repossessions and other perceived exploitation of Namibians by banks is unfortunate and lacks any credible substance.
As BAN promotes a fair and open relationship between customers and banks, BAN has recently launched its Code of Banking Practice, which sets out the minimum standards for service and conduct customers can expect from banks on the services and products offered. This Code (available on www.ban.na) is intended to guide customers to better understand their rights and responsibilities, as well as banks’ rights and responsibilities in serving customers. BAN (and its member banks) is committed to meeting the standards set out in this Code, based on fundamental principles of fairness, transparency, accountability, and reliability, which ultimately fosters confidence in the banking system. BAN would like to advise customers who may have grievances against their banks to:
· Approach their commercial bank to resolve the dispute;
· If that does not yield results, approach the Bank of Namibia to assist with the resolution of the dispute with a particular commercial bank (in terms of the law); or
· Approach courts as a measure of last resort.