ISLAMABAD/KARACHI - Facing severe jolts to their consumer finance business in their home countries like US and UK, leading foreign banks in Pakistan are all out to exploit to the extent of harassment of their customers. They treat their customers especially the credit card subscribers as the 'banyas (the money lenders) in the traditional Indian society used to treat their borrowers. By paying lofty commissions they could easily hire such collectors and recovery officers that take harassing and insulting customer as their skills and professional expertise. According to banking sector sources, the credit card department people work callously as the payment of customer getting late directly benefit them or their colleagues that get a handsome commission on recoveries and late collections. Having a number of complaints of cheques missing from the drop boxes especially that of the Citibank, TheNation approached the only person available dealing with credit cards of the bank in Islamabad named Qasim at phone number 051-2072000 (extension 5506) he said that they seldom keep record or log of what he described as discrepant cheques. Asked what do you do with the so-called discrepant cheques, he said, Normally we send them back to the issuer branch of the respective bank. Why should we and against what should we keep log of these discrepant cheques, he replied the repeated question that these were the cheques dropped by the banks customers after all and without keeping any record how could you belie a customer that a cheque was not dropped in. He referred to the banks credit card operations head in Rawalpindi or the Customer Services Head Karachi for further queries. Our Staff Reporter from Karachi adds: In the garb of convenience and facility, the Citibank is running an extortion mafia against its valued customers by ignoring their calls and instead of responding to their calls and giving them a proper reply to anxious clients, they harassed them. Citibank, which claims high standard of banking across the globe has initiated Drop Box Facility for the consumers but without a guarantee that the cheque dropped in the box, would reach the concerned department of the bank. If the payment through the cheques failed to meet the deadline, the client suffers and he/she has to pay a penalty for late payment not because of his/her fault but because of the failure of concerned banking section to pick up the cheque in time. Once the valued client defaults, the recovery of the amount is given to a third party, which adopts all sorts of extortionist tactics from threatening to insulting the clients personally and his/her family. This is Citibank style and despite a ruling from Sindh High Court, the third party moves with all impunity to recover the defaulted amount. Recently, a cheque was placed in a Drop Box Facility in Islamabad, three day before the last date of payment but the cheque was allegedly lost and the local contact of the third party doubted that the cheque was ever put in the box. He even, when contacted on telephone to know about the fate of the cheque, was rude and insulting and even had the courage to say that Pakistanis could not be believed on their words and doubted that the cheque was ever placed in the box. Efforts were made to contact to the Head of Consumer Finance Huma Gilani located in Karachi for full one day on telephone # 111-444-444, the call hit a voice mail box where all the information was recorded but the honourable lady did not bother to respond. In desperation, efforts were made to contact Citibank Country Head Arif Usmani on telephone # 32638223, for full two days. On Monday, it was informed Usmani was not in Karachi and would be back on Tuesday. Usmani retuned on Tuesday and when contacted, his secretary told that Usmani was in a meeting. The secretary asked for the reason for the call and was given the detail of query but Usmani did not respond.