Firms pay back N$14.6m for bad service


Non-banking financial institutions regulated by the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) disbursed N$14.6 million to consumers in 2023 following successful appeals on various complaints lodged with Namfisa. This revelation emerged during a recent consumer education awareness meeting convened in the //Karas Region.

Namfisa disclosed that grievances primarily stemmed from consumers signing blank or incomplete documents and encountering difficulty in understanding specific financial benefits or products due to inadequate or absent explanations during the sales process. Additional complaints encompassed non-payment of premiums and installments due to financial hardships and over-indebtedness, as well as the arduous cancellation procedures implemented by service providers.

Furthermore, deficiencies in effective complaints management systems were highlighted, resulting in undefined root causes of consumer complaints and inadequate corrective actions. Service providers were also criticized for delaying the assessment and resolution of claims, along with delivering subpar customer service.

Namfisa also unveiled insights into the impending Financial Institutions and Markets Act (FIMA), which facilitates direct housing loans by funds to members, alongside pension-backed guarantees. For a pension fund to extend housing loans, the fund’s rules must first incorporate provisions for such loans or guarantees, with the decision ultimately resting with the trustees.

Namfisa underscored that the aim of the bill is to foster fair, transparent, and responsible market conduct within the consumer credit sphere, thereby safeguarding consumers through measures such as responsible lending practices, mandatory affordability assessments, equitable treatment, transparent disclosure of information, enhanced reporting of consumer credit data, standardized debt collection practices, and reinforcement against financial crimes.

Namfisa says its supervision enables identification of unfair treatment to consumers that may need to be addressed thereby protecting consumers against malpractices in the financial sector.

“The anticipated commencement of FIMA is postponed, and its operationalization will not proceed as initially planned. The Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises will communicate the new commencement date to the public in due course,” Namfisa stated.

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