It has been recently reported that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has directed commercial and microfinance banks to compensate the customers for delays in clearance of their cheques and other payment instruments. The central bank has directed the banks to pay 3% markup plus the policy rate to the customers in case the financial institutions fail to transfer the amount to the customers’ accounts within the time specified.
Interestingly, the SBP also clarified that if the bank is not responsible for the delay in transfer, it can claim the compensation from drawee or clearing house, whoever is responsible. However, clearing house, drawee and banks cannot be held liable for any failure or delay in clearing due to any force majeure event.
The SBP has issued “Guidelines for Clearing Operations” to facilitate general public for timely realization of funds in their accounts.
The instructions, which will be effective from Jan 1, 2018, have been issued in terms of the powers conferred upon the SBP under the Payment Systems and Electronic Fund Transfers Act, 2007.
According to the guidelines, banks will be responsible to process the intercity payments within 3 extra days, and ensure that payee account is credited against the proceeds of the clearing before the end of this timeline.