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Lelchitsy Regional Executive Committee
19 June 2020

Lukashenko: Performance of banks should be evaluated from consumer’s point of view

It is necessary to evaluate how banks work with consumers just the way the satisfaction of people with housing and utilities services or healthcare services is evaluated. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement during the government conference held on 19 June to discuss how the banking system can support the real sector of the economy, BelTA has learned.

The president said he was confident that the banking system needs to be evaluated from the point of view of consumers’ satisfaction with the system’s work. “Not only the housing and utilities industry or, let’s say, medics need such an evaluation. Are you better than them? You work with people every day,” the head of state noted.

Both natural persons and legal persons have complained about the work of Belarusian banks. Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed concerns about the rising number of cyberfraud crimes, unauthorized plastic card transactions, and similar crimes. “Gazprombank went as far as to change the currency exchange rate for half a day or a day (we are verifying the reports now) in order to allow the bank’s personnel to buy U.S. dollars cheaper while the exchange rate was reverted to normal in the evening,” the president cited an example. “Why did the central bank fail to spot it?” Besides, in some cases Gazprombank promised interest rates on loans as low as 4% to people while the interest rate was set at 80% per annum when the people had to pay back the money. “Frauds, they ripped off people and moved money to Latvia,” the head of state noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also pointed out that enterprises often complain about excessive prices for banking services. For instance, merchant acquiring (cashless payments in retail, online, or via mobile phones). The Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade Ministry and the government should take care of the problem, Aleksandr Lukashenko said. The president told the antimonopoly regulation and trade minister to straighten out the banking industry by September.