January 11, 2023 (MLN): Commercial Banks are not returning the US dollars to depositors of Foreign Currency Saving Accounts (FCA), which is causing turmoil for depositors, Zulfikar Thaver, President of Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) highlighted while inviting the attention of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
The dollars are kept by depositors in saving accounts for the purpose of travel to visit their relatives, pilgrimage, Haj, tuition fees, and emergency travel for medical treatment.
Banks are saying that they do not have USD, therefore they are unable to return the foreign currency to depositors, and are offering Pak rupee instead of USD at the bank rate of exchange, he added.
Moreover, depositors who are requesting immediate dollar withdrawals are advised by the bank to wait for two or three days, or else they are being offered Pak currency.
Since the bank rate is much lower than the open market rate it is causing a loss to the FCA holders.
To note, the bank rate is about Rs228 to a dollar whereas the market rate is around Rs268 or so depending on the daily demand and supply position.
In this case, if a depositor who is in urgent need of his own currency deposited in the bank, and refused withdrawal by the bank with whom it is kept as Amanat (trust) would have to purchase it from the open market at the selling rate which is again higher than the buying rate and that too if available.
UNISAME Council members have urged the SBP to direct the banks to honor the request of the FCA holders at all costs and not to damage the trust of the customers.
It is pertinent to note that the business community fully realizes the difficulties being faced by the banks and is prepared to abstain from withdrawing the dollars if not in real need but they have expressed concern only for those who have to withdraw it because of the dire need for a bonafide purpose.
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Posted on: 2023-01-11T12:14:31+05:00