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Complaints from bank customers drop in the final quarter of 2021 year-on-year despite CCCFA changes

Banking / news
Complaints from bank customers drop in the final quarter of 2021 year-on-year despite CCCFA changes

Complaints to the Banking Ombudsman from bank customers dropped 13% in the final quarter of 2021, year-on-year.

Figures from the Banking Ombudsman's Dashboard show a total of 24,206 complaints were received in the fourth quarter of 2021. That's down 3,655, or 13%, from 27,861 in the fourth quarter of 2020.

ANZ New Zealand, the country's biggest bank, was once again the most complained about bank. A total of 9,638 complaints were received about ANZ, equivalent to almost 40% of all complaints. That's ahead of ANZ's market share of almost 30%. That was, however, down from the final quarter of 2020, when 12,685, or 44.5%, of all complaints, were about ANZ.

Across the other major banks, ASB, BNZ and Kiwibank all grew their share of total complaints by percentage. ASB's rose to 15.8% from 10.7%, with complaint volumes up 840 to 3,815. Kiwibank saw complaints rise 643 to 2,185, or 9% of total complaints. In contrast there was a 1,084 drop in volume of complaints made about Westpac, with its share of total complaints down to 15% from 16.9%.

Complaints about BNZ dropped 181 to 3,509, but its share of total complaints rose to 14.5% from 13.2%.

Over the course of 2021 home loans overtook contact centres as the source of the most complaints, as seen in the chart at the bottom of this article. By December, the second most complaints were received about personal transaction accounts, with credit cards third, call centres fourth and internet banking services fifth.

The Banking Ombudsman says complaints about home loans and credit cards rose 24% and 19%,respectively in the fourth quarter of 2021 versus the third quarter. Complaints about long waiting times for a loan decision rose 62 from the September quarter, with complaints about declined applications up 22%.

Overall, December 2021 quarter complaints were up 783, or 3%, on 23,423 in the September quarter of 2021.

Banking Ombudsman Nicola Sladden says changes to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act requiring lenders to scrutinise customers’ expenses more closely when assessing loan applications, the tightening of high loan-to-value ratio restrictions, and rising interest rates during the quarter all contributed to rising lending-related complaints.

"While complaints about financial hardship have declined, heightened consumer vulnerability from the effects of the pandemic, coupled with the rising cost of living, could drive more complaints this year," Sladden says.

The online dashboard of customer complaints was launched in August 2020.

Fourth quarter 2021

Fourth quarter 2020

Most complained about products & services

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Do home loan complaints correlate to interest rates?