Banks can’t withhold end-of-service award
By Saleh Al-Zahrani
JEDDAH — Banks are not allowed to withhold a Saudi client’s end-of-service award or deduct any amount from it unless there is a judicial verdict to do so, according to an official of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).
Secretary General of the Information and Banking Awareness Committee and spokesman of Saudi banks Tal’at Hafiz told Okaz that banks are also not allowed to deduct more than a monthly installment each month to collect dues unless they have received a prior consent from the client or there is a judicial verdict allowing them to do so.
Hafiz said that banks have no right to deduct a monthly installment prior to the date agreed on or to hold back the installment amount prior to the due date.
He said clients have the right to shift to another bank to deposit their monthly salaries if they have no financial commitments toward the bank they want to shift their account from.
Economic and banking expert Fadl Al-Buainain described banks sequestering the end of service award or transferring it directly to another account to settle a loan owed by a client as a blatant violation.
Meanwhile, SAMA has received requests to open digital and traditional banks.
The central bank will call for public opinion soon on the fifth update of opening bank accounts, as well as operating them in commercial banks.
The central bank governor said SAMA is open to receiving additional applications for banking licenses, and has posted on its website steps and criteria for that.
The needed procedures are specified for both local banks and foreign banks that wish to open branches in the Kingdom, he said.