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Complaints with bank ombudsman surge 25% to 1.63 lakh in FY18: RBI

PTI     April 24, 2019

Customer complaints to the banking ombudsman (BO) increased by a fourth to 1.63 lakh in the year to June 2018, with a majority of them related to unfair practices, the Reserve Bank said Wednesday.

The country's largest lender SBI led the complaint list with close to 47,000 plaints, while HDFC Bank led among the private sector lenders with over 12,000 complaints, and American lender Citibank had 1,450 complaints.

In the annual report of the BO scheme, the RBI said a rise in the number of complaints from digital transactions, an ombudsman scheme for digital transactions is proposed to be formulated and implemented during 2018-19.

In the year gone by, the 21 BO offices received 1,63,590 complaints, marking an increase of 24.9 percent over previous year, and 96 percent of them were disposed.

The major grounds of complaints received during the year was non-observance of fair practices code at 22.1 percent, ATM and debit card issues at 15.1 percent and credit card issues at 7.7 percent, and mobile and electronic banking at 5.2 percent.

Problems relating to pension, levy of charges without notice, loans, remittances, agents involved in direct sales and recovery and mis-selling accounted for 5 percent or less of the total complaints received each, it said.

The percentage of maintainable complaints which were resolved by agreement i.e. through mediation increased to 65.8 percent from 42.4 percent, RBI said.

The BOs issued 148 awards during the year, of which 111 were implemented, it said, adding this is a huge surge in awards when compared with the 31 issued last year.

In FY18, the BO scheme was revised to enhance the powers of BOs by doubling the amount of compensation for loss that can be granted in an award to Rs 20 lakh, deputy governor MK Jain said in his foreword to the report.

The average cost of handling a complaint came down to Rs 3,504 in 2017-18 from Rs 3,626 due to an increase in efficiency and economies of scale, it said.

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