The Bank Ombudsman continues to acknowledge winning banks in dispute resolution

The dynamics in resolving banking-related complaints are different each year, therefore the effort required to address them may differ with each financial cycle. The amendments to certain laws and regulatory frameworks make up this variance.

“In as much as the OBS functions as an independent non-profit organisation (NPO), and the banks recognise the authority of the Bank Ombudsman, the work that this office does cannot be fully accomplished without the co-operation of all the banks involved,”  says Reana Steyn, the Ombudsman for Banking Services.

In recognition, the Ombudsman for Banking Services once again honoured banks and bank staff for excellent service and performance judged on the banks’ co-operation with the Ombudsman’s office in resolving bank customer disputes.

The annual awards were held last week  at a venue in Johannesburg.

“We set measurable standards for the banks which reflect our values to enable us to honour our promise to deliver free, impartial and speedy dispute resolutions,” says Steyn.

There are two categories, A & B for the Best Dispute Resolution Banks.

For category A the criteria are;

  •  Quality of the written response of the bank to the office in response to a specific complainant
  • The response time, and
  • The overall fairness of the response.

 In category A, which includes ABSA, FNB, Nedbank, Standard Bank and Capitec, the 2019 winning bank is Standard Bank.

For category B, and based on the same criteria, the winner for the Best Dispute Resolution Bank, is African Bank.

Individual effort is also recognised with an award for bank staff members who impressed with their consistent excellent service. In this category, the following criteria are applied:

  1.  Treating all complainants with equal dignity and respect and affording all complaints the necessary level of attention;
  2. Providing prompt and efficient service to complainant and the OBS;
  3. Initiating and/or improving measures and or service level agreements to enhance their bank’s level of service in complaints handling; and
  4.  The individual must be knowledgeable about their bank’s products, service and processes, including internal complaints handling mechanisms as well as those of the OBS.

The winners are Karen Jonker from ABSA Bank and Rachel Grunstein from Bidvest Bank.

“It is a pleasure for the OBS to award Standard Bank and ABSA Bank, as the best dispute resolution banks,  and bank employees Karen and Rachel.”

“Tradition  requires some change in order to remain relevant,”says Steyn The OBS has introduced two additional categories.

The Innovation Award is presented to the bank that excelled in innovation in dispute resolution resulting in a noticeable decrease in consumer disputes. The winner for this new category is Standard Bank.

The second new  category is called the Engagement Award, which is awarded to the bank that took the initiative to engage the OBS in training, industry challenges and solutions in 2019. This award was also presented to Standard Bank.

For the past three years, the awards have  included an award for an OBS staff member. This award is given to the employee who represents the OBS internal and cultural values, and to the employee who is judged by their peers to go beyond the call of duty. The 2019 OBS staff member winner is Gerrit van der Merwe.  

“This is always the highlight for me because this nomination is about the OBS employees recognising one another. It is about the team member, as voted for by the team. Gerrit joined the OBS in 2018 and has certainly enriched the culture and atmosphere at the office. I am proud to congratulate Gerrit as this year’s winning staff member,”  Steyn concludes.

How to complain?

  • Lodge a formal, written complaint directly with your bank’s dispute resolution department
  • Ask for a complaint reference number from your bank
  • Allow the bank 20 working days in which to respond to your complaint
  • Obtain a written response from your bank

Consumers can contact the office of the Ombuds for Banking Services for free assistance if they experience any banking problems or would like to lodge a complaint against their bank.

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