Banking Ombudsman says enquiries about banks up 14% in 1st nine months of year

Banking Ombudsman says enquiries about banks up 14% in 1st nine months of year

New Zealanders are complaining about their banks in increasing numbers, perhaps because they're becoming more aware that they're able to, Banking Ombudsman Deborah Battell says.

Battell says her office has handled almost a third more enquiries in the first nine months of its financial year than it expected to. And this is 300, or 14%, more enquiries than the office completed in the same period of its previous year. The Banking Ombudsman Scheme is tasked with investigating and resolving disputes between customers and their banks.

"The calendar year is nearly half-way through and we are now in the last quarter of our financial year," Battell says in her latest newsletter. "At the end of the third quarter we had already completed 2,468 cases, which is close to 600 more than we forecast for this point and just over 300 more than at the same time last year."

"Lending issues still dominate our caseload making up 40 percent of disputes," Battell adds.

From a complainant’s point of view she says the number of days it takes to close disputes has dropped by seven working days over the first nine months of the year, to 73 from 80 days.

Battell told interest.co.nz that the growth was coming in what are defined as "enquiries". The number of "disputes" was unchanged at 238 between July 1 last year and April 30 this year. And the number of "complaints" rose by 2 to 234.

Disputes are the most serious of the three categories. They are complaints that have been through a bank's internal complaints process and been unable to be resolved. They go to the Banking Ombudsman for investigation or resolution. Complaints are issues raised with the Banking Ombudsman that are referred onto banks. And enquiries are where the Banking Ombudsman's office gives the enquirer some information, or asks for more information, before referring the complainant to their bank.

In terms of the growth in the number of enquiries, Battell suggests you can only speculate as to why this is happening.

"Perhaps people are a bit more aware of their right to contact us," she says.

Battell says the way Banking Ombudsman cases are classified has changed, with telephone enquiries now lumped in with written enquiries. And the next annual report will include new break downs of the way cases are classified, with the number of complaints broken down to cover products and services such as debit cards and mobile banking.

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11 Comments

New Zealanders are complaining about their banks in increasing numbers, perhaps because they're becoming more aware that they're able to, Banking Ombudsman Deborah Battell says.
 
Or is it the case that standards have dropped to such a level citizens can no longer ignore the enormity of wealth transfer being undertaken without prior consent?

Of course its prior consent, the older voters chose how to vote and chose to sell, their own short term outlook has buggered them and us youngers.
regards
 
 

"   enormity of wealth transfer being undertaken without prior consent? "
could you please explain Stephen

I believe Gareth continually updates the onwards and upwards profit profiles of the four Australian banks, which to my knowledge essentially get repatriated across the Tasman - Annual GDS releases should allow you to confirm exact amounts , if not NZ Stats.
 
I never has a single bit to say in respect of approval even though I lend significant sums to said banks and in a matter of days will be eligible to re-capitalise an insolvency under RBNZ OBR rules.
 
 

Yeah I tend to agree Stephen. Frustrating isn't it that us Kiwis can't save, can't develop our own capital markets, arent wealthy enough for even the NZ Govt to properly capitalise kiwibank, and therefore basically can't create own own banks that I'd be confident to give my cash to - I guess the Aussies are entitled to their profits and that wealth transfer will continue until we wake up...yup, in neither of our life times, but we'd be in the s@@ without them

What I rail against is the failure of the regulatory authorities to stop excessive foreign borrowing by our banks to satisfy the need of those NZers wishing to consume today which they can probably never afford tomorrow. 
 
The foreign borrowings are hedged and collateralised by the currency swap arrangements undertaken by the Australian owned NZ banks, hence the conterparties have no need to expose themselves to the costs of insolvency issues. That is to be borne by the arbitraged, but nonetheless under rewarded local depositors - that type of NZ initiated regulatory indifference has to be stopped. The citizens deserve better from all concerned - it's not a level playing field, and yet those at the RBNZ enforcing the injustice are too weak to say so and forewarn the innocent.

but why should the Govn be that involved with private transactions? oh wait so you as an already saved can enjoy the lifestyle you think you deserve.
Done speak for all please, depends on the citizens, as a borrower well that voter is perfectly happy. 
The playing field isnt normally level and in fact Im sure the advantage swings between the 2 parties in the transaction (ie lender and borrower) so the Q is why are borrowers not using that known to their advantage.
regards
 
 

but why should the Govn be that involved with private transactions?
 
I couldn't agree more -Let's prohibit the RBNZ from setting interest rates, which is a task better suited to those lending the money, not civil servants.
 
And let's not allow government minister's the right to pick winners: Read more
 
Telecom will split Chorus off into a separate company by the end of 2011 and CFH will invest NZ$929 million directly in Chorus with 50% being non-voting shares and 50% interest free loans.[3]
 
For the other three companies, they will each form a joint venture known as a local fibre company with CFH: Whangarei Local Fibre Company Limited, UltraFast Broadband Limited
 
Want me to go on? - it would take all day - do you not know where you reside and if not please refrain from your inane comments, and annoy another set of bloggers?

I did qualify it with "that" ie there should be a degree of regulation and policing ie enough for stability. 
"pick winners" I agree, more like "pick whinners"  In the 60s? or 70s? the then UK Labour? Wilson? Govn tried to do that and that was one huge mess...and yes as I cant see there is an adequate case for the Govn to go near Chorus....quite the reverse in fact.
"annoy" really, you mean just let other bloggers put out biased self interested posts....uh no...
regards
 

Stephen,
Couldn't agree more. I would add that as well as adding probably unsustainable risk and loss of wealth onto New Zealanders who are encouraged to then borrow this money multiplied around a few times over, the effect on the exchange rate has to in turn be a vicious cycle on our current account.
Without any control, you can understand the commercial banks doing this. The government through the Treasury doing the same thing seems to set an extraordinarily bad example, and that annoys me more.
It's a minor cosmetic thing, but it seems to me the banks have stopped making announcements like "Great news. We've just borrowed another couple of billion in covered bonds from foreigners to loan to you all." I suspect even their economists realise how disastrous this is for NZ; and it seems fairly plausible that the banks may not mind the RB putting the brakes on; but if the brakes aren't on, each of them sort of has to go full steam ahead to maintain market share- the must have in any corporate.

Tend to agree but its equally excessive borrowing by NZers that encourages the banks to access the funds - but yes probably a case of the chicken and egg scenario. Bring it in today and we'd have potentially much higher interest rates, but if it had come in a decade or two ago the attraction to invest rather than borrow might see an entirely different set of incentives, and lower housing prices. I dare say that there are alot of issued around that including the implication for businesses not being able to access funds as easily, or at higher rates on average.

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