Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said the central bank has processed almost 12,000 consumer complaints via regular channels and the chatbot BOB (BSP Online Buddy) in the first six months of 2021.
Diokno said that of the 12,000, only three percent or 358 concerns were related to debt collection, debt restructuring of loans or credit card accounts.
“Of the request for debt restructuring and affordable payment arrangements filed with BSP chatbot, around 31 percent were resolved in favor of the consumer,” said Diokno during his online “GBED Talks” weekly.
About 32 percent of complaints filed with BOB are ongoing evaluation process and coordination with the client, he added. Another 21 percent are still awaiting action or reply from the concerned bank or financial institution.
“Complaints that were not resolved in favor of the client comprise only 13 percent of the total number (12,000),” said Diokno.
The BSP chief said that the “relatively low cases” involving request for debt restructuring is “reassuring even in the cases escalated to the BSP where we provide an additional platform and opportunity for the parties to further communicate with each other”.
“We find that banks are largely open to consideration,” said Diokno.
Concession given by banks to their clients include waiver, or reduction of fees, interests or penalties, implementing a more favorable payment scheme, providing options especially for payments made through post-dated cheques, and auto debit or auto deduct arrangements and granting extension or adjustment of loan maturity, according to Diokno.
BOB or the BSP chatbot automates the handling of consumer complaints sent to the BSP. It is able to process and refer complaints to concerned banks or non-banks on a real-time basis, and shortening the turnaround time for resolving complaints.
During the second quarter or April to June this year, complaints and queries processed through BOB comprised 58 percent of total cases, up from 15 percent in the third quarter of 2020. BOB was pilot-tested in July last year and officially launched in August 2020.
“The increased usage suggests the effectiveness of BOB in providing consumers with an accessible and efficient platform for escalating complaints regarding the products and services provided by BSP-Supervised Financial Institutions (BSFIs),” said Diokno.
Basically, BOB enables the public to instantly send concerns through a webchat on the BSP Website, SMS, and social media (Facebook Messenger) through their smart or mobile phones. Using artificial intelligence, BOB can respond to queries and complaints in English, Tagalog or Taglish. The BSP also plans to add Cebuano to BOB’s language.
“The central bank encourages all financial consumers to take full advantage of this technology when raising complaints against BSFIs,” said Diokno.
According to the 2020 BOB feedback portal, customer satisfaction was indicated by 69 percent of respondents. “The positive reception of BOB may be attributed to its availability in digital and mobile platforms,” said the BSP, citing a survey by Silicon Valley-based Fair Isaac Corporation, a data analytics firm, that almost six out of 10 Filipino consumers prefer to use digital and mobile channels in transacting with their banks.
Diokno said the BSP has added features to BOB to make it more effective as consumer chatbot. New features include enabling consumers to attach files to facilitate submission of supporting documents, as well as the provision of Frequently Asked Questions and the required minimum number of words for the details of a complaint.