6th Dec 2018
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Banks spark most complaints to new ombudsman
Author: Olga Galacho
Complaints about banks have soared

The new Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has received 6522 grievances in its first month of operation, which is 60 per cent more than it budgeted for.

Just eight per cent of complaints were about superannuation, compared with 36 per cent about banks.

The authority said it was investigating four “potentially serious contraventions”.

AFCA had asked for sufficient funds to field 1000 complaints about financial products and services in its first week starting on 1 November.

However, after 13,000 telephone inquiries, the authority has been swamped by the number of complaints it has received.

AFCA’s first report comes less than a week after the last hearings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry .

The royal commission’s grilling exposed countless examples where banks and other financial institutions had not acted in the best interests of customers by putting profits first.

AFCA last month replaced the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal as the one-stop shop for financial dispute resolution.

Averaging about 310 complaints per business day, it has so far experienced an increase of more than 47 per cent in disputes reported when compared to the three predecessor schemes, the authority said.

More than a third, or 2367, of all complaints were levelled at banks. This was followed by 1159 complaints about general insurers, 1040 about credit providers and 522 about super funds.

“While there has been a high number of complaints initially received by AFCA, less than six per cent of AFCA’s licensee members have had complaints lodged against them in November.

“We want to make sure that members of the public know where to go for help when they have a financial complaint they can’t resolve directly with their financial firm,” chief ombudsman David Locke said.

“AFCA provides quick and easy access to fair resolutions. This is part of our role in rebuilding trust in the financial services sector. In fact, while we have only been operating for a month, 15 per cent of the complaints we received in November have already been finalised,” Mr Locke said.

Most of the complaints AFCA has received have been about credit (45 per cent), followed by general insurance (21 per cent) and deposit taking (10 per cent).

While most complaints were lodged by individual consumers, 460 complaints were lodged by small businesses.

“Complaints about decisions made by financial firms are the most common reason why consumers and small businesses make complaints to AFCA,” the authority said.

“This includes issues relating to denial of insurance claims and responsible lending. Service issues, such as service quality, delay in claim handling or delay in complaint handling are the next most common issues.

“Our streamlined processes and systems have dealt well with the level of calls and complaints received. Of the number of complaints lodged, 80 per cent were made online, meaning consumers and small businesses have been able to access our service whenever and wherever they need it,” Mr Locke said.

AFCA is currently investigating 84 definite systemic issues and four potentially serious breaches.

“Systemic issues are identified in a complaint or several complaints, and have an effect on people beyond the parties to a complaint,” he said.

“Because of this, we take our responsibility to identify and investigate systemic issues very seriously. Financial firms should be in no doubt that we will be referring and reporting these to the appropriate regulator.”

AFCA is a free and independent ombudsman service that resolves complaints by consumers and small businesses about financial firms. It was established following the 2016 Ramsay Review into how Australia’s external dispute resolution framework could be improved to deliver effective outcomes.

Consumers and small businesses can lodge a complaint to AFCA online at afca.org.au, via email to info@afca.org.au or by phoning 1800 931 678.

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    COMMENTS

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    MICK
    6th Dec 2018
    9:22am
    What....new complaints?
    If the banking industry is still up to its old tricks CEOs need to see jail time. The cost of the Royal Commission alone should ensure that all is either squeaky clean. If we are seeing business as usual then the criminals in suits need to be made accountable in the harshest manner: personal financial compensation and jail time.
    It seems that the bastards are just like their counterparts in America directly after the GFC. With banks having been refinanced by taxpayers management then took home large bonuses and completely disregarded what they had done and the damage they did worldwide. It sounds like the same deal playing out in Australia now.
    Old Geezer
    6th Dec 2018
    10:48am
    Ha ha Mick RC only had 9000 cases and there are millions transactions going through banks per day. That's even smaller than one would expect in honest mistakes with such large numbers.
    1984
    6th Dec 2018
    10:53am
    Mick, problem is that the RC doesn't have any power to recommend or lay charges. What we need now is the state & federal police given the go ahead to investigate & charge those who have broken any laws but I don't think there's much chance of that happening, so it's business as usual.
    It will take years to change the culture that the financial institutions have adopted and until the government passes legislation that will make the CEO's & senior executives criminally liable for how there company operates it may never happen.
    All the CEO's & senior executives that resigned during the RC, bet they walk into another overpaid position in the corporate world as mates look after mates.
    Old Geezer
    6th Dec 2018
    12:51pm
    No need to recommend or lay charges as nothing has been done wrong at all.
    MICK
    6th Dec 2018
    1:02pm
    The top end, your supporters, can never do anything wrong OG. Petty crims get jail time for small amounts but CEOs and their Boards get bonuses for their crimes against humanity. This is what is wrong with the system. Justice depends on your postcode.

    1984 - you are probably right. All the rules and regulations count for nothing if there are no teeth. It appears the only thing making banks be contrite at all is the public shaming and humiliation. Unfortunately the top end of town bastards will soon be back to their old ways and only jail + huge fines will stop them. This is where this rich man's government does not want to go. It tried everything to refuse a RC but will not enact legislation which will send their rich crooked colleagues to jail.
    Old Geezer
    6th Dec 2018
    1:09pm
    ROFL
    1984
    7th Dec 2018
    12:31am
    Yes OG the current government is a big joke but they are already paying the price at the polls & won't be there after the next election.
    Personally I'd rather see the Greens in power than either the LNP or ALP. At least the 2 major parties might get the message & start working for the people & not their rich mates.
    1984
    6th Dec 2018
    10:38am
    Surprise, surprise, surprise, well golly, who would of thought straight after the RC on the same companies
    George
    6th Dec 2018
    11:54am
    Shows they haven't learnt. Why would they, when the same people (apart from a couple) are still running these banks? For example, the Head of Retail Banking at the CBA (area where they had the money laundering issues) is now the CEO!

    "84 system issues" recorded by AFCA in just the 1st month! The article mentions these will be referred to the appropriate regulator - what will happen after that? What we need to know are how effective these agencies are going to be in handing out punishments, etc. Can't say the situation is improving until we see such real results of action against greed.

    One action sorely needed Urgently is to STOP paying large Bonuses to the top management - maybe only 20% based on a range of KPI criteria with Customer Satisfaction (measured independently say by a ABS survey mechanism) being at least 50% of it.
    MICK
    6th Dec 2018
    1:03pm
    As I said above: real sentences rather than public shaming is what is needed. That NEVER happens to the rich........unless they offend the mates club.
    Old Geezer
    6th Dec 2018
    10:46am
    It does not surprise me at all. People lost money due to their own greed looking for someone else to blame. With the share market down then why not have a go and blame someone for your own greed. Who better than the banks to blame as they were somehow involved as it was money.
    1984
    6th Dec 2018
    10:59am
    The only greed was from the financial institutions as proven by the RC.
    Old Geezer
    6th Dec 2018
    11:32am
    Rubbish the RC proved nothing at all.
    1984
    6th Dec 2018
    11:50am
    ROFLMFHO
    Old Geezer
    6th Dec 2018
    12:34pm
    ROFL as I just think of you as a fool that has been well and truly conned on this. However without fools where would we get our laughs from?
    MICK
    6th Dec 2018
    1:05pm
    Greed? WHO is the most greedy? Those trying to 'invest' for their future in safe investments or those at the top who falsify and defraud their customers. Chalk and cheese.
    Old Geezer
    6th Dec 2018
    1:08pm
    Mick if people had a problem why didn't they dispute it with their bank? I know that when I have a problem and ask them about it is fixed pronto. People need to do something rather than just on their bums. You are right chalk and cheese if you do nothing nothing happens.
    MICK
    6th Dec 2018
    1:13pm
    Stories which have come out show that THEY DID. Some people had thick files on the correspondence. You assume the banks gave a damn. They relied on their power to steamroll customers. That's why an intermediary is needed. One which is funded rather than having a title and being a front to make it look as though there is an option to stop the crookedness.
    Old Geezer
    6th Dec 2018
    1:52pm
    Mick I too could turn up with a thick file of blank paper too.
    Lothario
    6th Dec 2018
    11:13am
    Most of the so called complaints would be from people not understanding the banking system or those trying to get something for nothing
    1984
    6th Dec 2018
    11:30am
    You are making an assumption based on no facts.
    Old Geezer
    6th Dec 2018
    11:33am
    Exactly Lothario.
    1984
    6th Dec 2018
    11:49am
    Surprise surprise surprise, OG agrees with making an assumption based on no facts.
    Old Geezer
    6th Dec 2018
    11:55am
    Don't need fats at all on this one just an ounce of common sense.
    MICK
    6th Dec 2018
    1:06pm
    I heard a number of stories where the victims had nothing to do with what was done with their money. And then there are the falsified and doctored loan applications.
    Why am I not surprised that troll Zorro is defending the crooks? Is that because you are one of them?
    Old Geezer
    6th Dec 2018
    1:50pm
    Mick regarding those falsified loan documents the people didn't complain when they got the loan. If their loan had been rejected what would they have done? Gone to the next lender who would have done the same thing. Now it's all ear shaped they are no man enough to take the blame themselves so want someone else to blame. It is as simple as that.
    Paddington
    6th Dec 2018
    3:31pm
    Have you even read the complaints? Can you quote some and then discuss actual cases?
    Old Geezer
    6th Dec 2018
    3:44pm
    Yes I have read most of the complaints, most were only half the story and lacked a lot of the truth as well.
    1984
    7th Dec 2018
    12:40am
    And those poor people that were in the grave & getting billed by you top end of town mates,
    how are they going to complain Lothario & OG, please explain that one
    Lothario
    7th Dec 2018
    1:00am
    Their lawyers it beneficiaries should inform the bank
    Duh !
    1984
    7th Dec 2018
    1:44am
    Just shows how much of an AH you are.
    Duh !
    1984
    7th Dec 2018
    2:00am
    All your comment does is prove that the top end of town cannot do any wrong & if they are caught out then it's the clients fault 100% dead or alive.
    Just goes to show what you really are & what sort of inhuman being you are
    Madam guillotine was used on a corrupt government, top end of town & their supporters that made the poor poorer & the rich richer. History has a habit of repeating itself.
    Lothario
    7th Dec 2018
    2:07am
    Are you not able to think rationally ?
    There is a legal contract between the customer and the bank
    If the customer is deceased then appropriate provisions in the contract apply or contract law provisions apply.
    The deceased lawyers or their beneficiaries need only notify the bank and appropriate action can be taken
    Where is the rort ??? Perhaps you need to advise Shorten how to NOT send checks and money transfers to dead people to waste taxpayer money
    1984
    7th Dec 2018
    2:39am
    read the transcripts from the RC. Read the responses from the banks.
    don't sidestep the issue by binging Shorten into it
    Lothario
    7th Dec 2018
    2:44am
    Read all of it
    It’s idiots not taking personal responsibility and wanting someone to blame for their poor choices
    MICK
    8th Dec 2018
    11:07am
    OG - your posts are no more than routine denial of anything this government and its wealthy mates do wrong.
    The accounts of bank victims have been well aired. Many complained that THEIR money was used for risky investments (gambling) they specifically asked NOT to be put in. And then there is falsification of the loan documents. Its a long list but of course YOU are a paid poster. Guess who?
    tisme
    6th Dec 2018
    12:14pm
    its not just banks, every year or so we are harassed by Baycorp which I found out was a debt collection agency. constantly after my autistic daughter ( they cant get her name and birth date right ) or where we live. but theres nothing we can do to stop them neither of us have ever used credit.
    Triss
    6th Dec 2018
    12:59pm
    Complain to the ACCC over harassment, Tisme, they have a "Dealing with debt collectors" section.
    MICK
    6th Dec 2018
    1:10pm
    Maybe ask your ISP to block them and if you get a mailing don't open the letter. Just send it back with 'Return to sender'. Of course you do realise that you will be put on the credit register as a bad debt. Perhaps contact Veda (you get one free credit check a year) and put in a submission if anything is showing there.
    Last step is contact the government (Finance Minister) or Fair Trading to put in a complaint.
    Unfortunately this may take some of your time and cause you angst to solve. That's how the system we live in works. They hope people will not be bothered.


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