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Sunday, September 6, 2009

5 Panamanian banks with worst customer service

Considering that in other countries the Republic National Bank of New York was involved in money laundering and the list of failed banks keeps getting longer, Panama is known as a country with adequate financial supervision and a tough place where to open a bank account.
When it comes to customer service, Panamanians are very demanding. In a 3 million people country with 100 banks, customers swap stories about which banks have better or worst service.
A local survey finally came up with the list of the 5 banks with the largest number of customer service complaints. The winners (or losers) are
HSBC http://www.hsbc.com.pa/ (25,7% of those polled),
Citibank http://www.citibank.com/panama/
Banistmo http://www.banistmo.com/ (now acquired by HSBC, further increasing its lead)
Banco Nacional de Panamá http://www.banconal.com.pa/
Caja de Ahorros http://www.cajadeahorros.com.pa/ .
The common element in the worst 5 is that they are US-owned or Panama-government owned. Panama shareholder-owned banks such as Banco General, Credicorp, and Banvivienda are not among the top 5 and their e-banking systems are very good.

If a written complaint to the bank has not been anwered satisfactorily after 30 days, customer service complaints must be submitted to the Superintendencia de Bancos, which has in their website:
- New Guide for Claims in Spanish
- Recommendations for Customers in English
- Customer Complaint portal in Spanish

An acountholder is always free to:
- File a Criminal Complaint (if misappropiation or a felony occurred) before the Department of Judicial Investigations DIJ
- File a Civil Complaint in court through an attorney. If a complainant really wants to get even, a bond for 20% can be posted of the amount claimed in order to seize assets from the bank for the duration of the case.
A Spanish translator is always needed because complaints are only handled in Spanish.

Capital Financiero printed an article on the survey.

Evalúan sector bancario
La firma encuestadora Dichter & Neira realizó a solicitud de Capital una encuesta con la finalidad de conocer la penetración de productos y servicios bancarios en Panamá.
En tal sentido se realizaron entre vistas a 420 clientes y a 109 banqueros de la plaza. La investigación se hizo vía telefónica durante el período comprometido del 23 al 26 de junio de 2009.
En el estudio se preguntaba a los clientes si había hecho algún cambio en sus hábitos por la crisis y el 90 % dijo que no y un 9.1% que sí.
Un 28,3% de los encuestados dijo también que hizo cambios, principalmente en el sentido de gastar menos, 15,2% que usó menos su tarjeta de crédito y 8,7% dijo que eliminaría su tarjeta.
Sobre la preferencia para elegir entre un banco y otro, más del 50% de los clientes consultados respondió que elegía en base a los tipos de interés, gastos bancarios y la atención que brindara el banco.
En cuanto a cuál era el banco preferido para depositar su dinero, el 65,5% se enfocaba en bancos grandes y el 21,9% le era indiferente y el resto se enfocaba por los pequeños.
Dichter & Neira fue más allá y pidió a los encuestados que dijera en cuanto a tamaño cuál era de su preferencia. En tal sentido, el 65,5% se orientó a los bancos grandes, 12,6% pequeños y 21,9% le era indiferente.
Sobre la satisfacción con la atención y servicios, hay que tener presente aclara la firma encuestadora, que el panameño es condescendiente y por ende califica un poco más alto de lo que en realidad piensa.
En tal sentido de las 420 personas encuestadas un 7% calificó como excelente la atención de los bancos, un 49% la calificó como buena y un 38,9% como regular.
La misma pregunta, pero dirigida a los banqueros, reportó solo un 2,8% como excelente, 64.5% como buena y 32,7% como regular.
El estudio también se enfocó en los servicios en línea que ofrecen los bancos de la plaza. Un 21,7% de los clientes lo calificó como excelente, 57,1% como buena y 18,8% como regular.
Otras de las preguntas en esta investigación fue: ¿Ha interpuesto alguna queja o reclamo por los servicios del banco? Un 91,9% dijo que no y 8,1% dijo que sí. El banco HSBC, concentró el mayor número de quejas de los encuestados (25,7%); seguido de Citibank, Banistmo y Banco Nacional de Panamá.
Pero en qué consistían las quejas de los usuarios de los servicios bancarios, el estudio reveló que un 17,6% se relacionaban con transacciones mal hechas, 14,7% por problemas con su tarjeta y demora en la entrega de documentos y un 11,8% tuvo demoras en sus transacciones.
Al evaluar a los clientes sobre las tasas que cobran los bancos, la mayoría consideró que son razonables.
Capital también pidió a la empresa encuestadora que buscara reacciones en la banca en el sentido de conocer la situación del sector bancario panameño. El estudio realizado constató que los bancos filtran más los clientes que antes (64,6%).
Un 60,6% de los entrevistados vía telefónica dijo que los bancos ponen más dificultades en la solicitud de créditos que antes, también se respondió en mayoría que no se otorgan crédito como antes.
Sobre los productos que se impulsarán este año, los banqueros consultados dijeron en un 23,4% que los préstamos hipotecarios y un 20,6% los préstamos personales y 11,2% las cuentas de depósitos.
En cuanto a la percepción sobre los controles del sistema, el 76,6% de los banqueros consultados dijo que la banca panameña tiene algunos defectos en sus controles que permiten que haya lavado de dinero
Draft translation
BANKS AND CUSTOMERS Evaluate banking sector
The Dichter & Neira polling firm conducted a survey application for Capital in order to meet the penetration of banking products and services in Panama.
As such views were conducted among 420 clients and 109 bankers in the Square. The research was done by telephone during the commitment period from 23 to 26 June 2009.
The survey asked customers if they had made any change in habits by the crisis and 90% said no and 9.1% yes.
28.3% of respondents also said they made changes, mainly in the sense of spending less, 15.2% used less than credit card and 8.7% said they would remove your card.
On the preference to choose between a bank and another, over 50% of customers surveyed said they chose based on interest rates, bank charges and the care provided by the bank.
As for what the bank preferred to park their money, 65.5% focused on big banks and 21.9% was indifferent and the rest focused on the small.
Dichter & Neira went further and asked respondents to say about what size was his preference. In this regard, 65.5% was directed to large banks, 12.6% small and 21.9% was indifferent.
On satisfaction with the care and services, keep in mind clarifies the polling firm, that the Panamanian is condescending and thus slightly higher scores than they actually think.
In that sense the 420 people surveyed by 7% scored excellent attention from banks, 49% called it good and 38.9% as fair.
The same question, but addressed to the bankers, reported only 2.8% as excellent, 64.5% and 32.7% as good as regular.
The study also focused on the online services offered by banks in the market. 21.7% of clients described it as excellent, 57.1% and 18.8% as good as regular.
Other questions in this study was: Has a grievance filed by the bank's services? 91.9% said no and 8.1% said yes. The bank HSBC, the largest number of complaints of respondents (25.7%), followed by Citibank, Banistmo and National Bank of Panama.
But what the "complaints from users of banking services, the study revealed that 17.6% were associated with bad transactions made, 14.7% for problems with your card and delayed delivery of documents and 11, 8% had delays in their transactions.
In assessing clients about the fees banks charge, the majority considered reasonable.
Capital also asked the survey company to seek feedback on the bench in the sense of knowing the status of the Panamanian banking sector. The study found that the filter banks more customers than before (64.6%).
60.6% of those interviewed by telephone said the banks put more difficulties in the application of provisions previously, a majority also said they are not given credit as before.
On products will be promoted this year, bankers polled by 23.4% said that the mortgage loans and personal loans 20.6% and 11.2% of deposit accounts.
Regarding the perception of system controls, 76.6% of bankers surveyed said the local banking system has some flaws in their controls that let you have money laundering

More about the worst 5 in:
Google: 54,500 results for "HSBC sucks"
http://pa.banquejas.com/: Website for bank complaints (guess which is the leader in comlaints)
Forospanama.com: Forum on worst customer service in Panama (U.S. Consular Section is a favorite)