Thursday 18 January 2018

Financial Ombudsman wants to see bank-complaints league established

Roisin Burke

HE knows when you've been bad or good -- and now he wants to publish it.

Financial services watchdog Bill Prasifka wants to publish a league table of banks, insurers and other financial institutions that have had adverse findings against them.

He has asked the Department of Finance to allow his office to name and rank institutions in league tables that show the best and worst performers in terms of customer complaints.

"It's a tool which we hope would enhance the financial services market," he said. "That's what we've been looking for from the department."

Consumer complaints remain "historically high", Mr Prasifka said, but hadn't risen further in 2010.

"At around 7,500 this year, the number of complaints remains more or less steady after having increased 20-25 per cent in the previous two years. Mis-selling of investment products is still the biggest source of complaints -- around 40 per cent"

He said the volcanic ash and bad weather events earlier in the year hadn't pushed up complaints on insurance.

When the Department of Finance's expert group on mortgage arrears and personal debt delivers its final report next month, Mr Prasifka expects his office to have a role in enforcing some of their findings. "If a framework is put in place for working out some sort of arrangement or forbearance for the borrower, if the borrower isn't happy they could complain to us."

The Financial Ombudsman's office is publishing its consumer-complaints report on the first six months of 2010 in the next fortnight.

A new deputy ombudsman (one instead of the previous two) and a new legal adviser will be appointed by the end of the year.

Sunday Independent

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