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Ombudsman reports 7% rise in number of complaints against SA banks

The number of complaints adjudicated by the Ombudsman for Banking Services increased by 7% as compared to 2020. File Picture: Reuters

The number of complaints adjudicated by the Ombudsman for Banking Services increased by 7% as compared to 2020. File Picture: Reuters

Published May 12, 2022


CAPE TOWN - Fraud, maladministration by banks, the closure of bank accounts and repossessions were among the serious complaints lodged to the Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS), as the service awarded more than R19 million back to consumers.

Ombudsman Reana Steyn said the number of complaints adjudicated by the OBS increased by 7% as compared to 2020.

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“Over 10 330 complaints were referred to the banks in 2021 compared to the 8 389 cases in 2020,” she said.

Steyn advised that in 73% of the matters resolved by her office in 2021, the findings were in favour of the banks.

Through her office’s intervention, concerned banks were held 100% liable for the complainant’s claims in 15.9% (1 276) of 2021 complaints.

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In 4.5%, or 363 of these complaints, the banks were found partially liable.

This means that in 1 639 (20.4%) matters adjudicated in 2021, the OBS concluded that there was some wrongdoing on the part of the banks.

“Of the matters concluded in favour of the complainants, over R19 400 000 was awarded and offered because of the OBS’s direct intervention,” says Steyn.

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The OBS office reported that:

• FNB saw a significant drop from 2 197 complaints in 2020 to 1 452 complaints in 2021 (a 34% decrease).

• Standard Bank saw an increase of 31.6% in the number of the complaints with a total number increasing from 1 572 complaints logged in 2020 to 2 070 in 2021.

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• Capitec Bank also saw an increase in complaints from 1 259 cases in 2020 to 1 651 in 2021, representing a 31.1% increase.

• Absa had an increase from 943 cases in 2020 to 1 068 cases in 2021 (a 13.3% increase).

• Nedbank accounted for 1 273 of the cases opened. An increase of 4.3%.

TymeBank saw a major increase in the number of complaints logged in 2021 with an increase of 870.8%, however these complaints came off a very low base of only 24 complaints in 2020 to 233 complaints in 2021, the OBS said.

Discovery Bank decreased by 26.7%

“The OBS will continue to monitor the increases across all complaint categories and engage with the relevant banks to ensure that they are aware of the specific challenges that they need to address in order to improve outcomes for consumers. We are confident that despite the challenging environment, progress is being made by banks to improve the service offering that they provide to consumers,” said Steyn.

Steyn encouraged consumers who have been wronged by their banks or who have suffered losses, or some serious distress and inconvenience due to a bank’s maladministration, to contact her office for the free dispute resolution.

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Cape Times