Muscat: The chairman of the Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has issued Ministerial Resolution BM/9/57/2023, regulating the direct debit system and bounced or returned cheques.
Some articles of the decision stipulate the licensed banks to provide all details related to the returned cheques, especially that of account holders who have two or more returned cheques in a month or four or more returned cheques during six months or six returned cheques within one year, regardless of whether those cheques were returned through one or more banks.
The banks are required to provide the name and ID of the owner of the returned cheque, the numbers and dates of its issuance and return, the value of its amounts, the names of its beneficiaries and the reasons for its return, and any other data specified by the Central Bank for the purposes of analyzing information and setting policies.
The licensed banks shall be responsible - alone and exclusively - for the accuracy and updating of the data related to the returned cheque.
The Central Bank or the hosting entity - based on the data it receives from the licensed banks - shall prepare a unified warning list of the names of the account holders.
Licensed banks, financial institutions, credit bureaus, their participating members, and others, as determined by the Central Bank, may also review the warning list to benefit from it for the purpose of assessing credit status and financial solvency.
Licensed banks or any authorized person may not use the system to benefit from information related to the returned cheques for the purposes for which it was requested.
Licensed banks must exercise caution when dealing with account holders whose names appear on the unified warning list, and must withdraw checkbooks from them, not open current accounts for them, and refrain from providing them with direct debit services, for a period of one year from the date of returning the returned instrument, without prejudice, apart from imposing any fines or actions determined by CBO.
Licensed banks may remove the name from the list if account holders of those returned cheques have settled their obligations towards the beneficiary.
Licensed banks should obtain a document proving that settlement and maintain documents of proof.
The new regulations clarify that CBO may impose an administrative fine not exceeding RO20,000 in the case of any violations.