Banks told to lift their game

BANKS must direct more resources to addressing consumer complaints, says Australian Banking Industry Ombudsman, Colin Neave.

His comments followed the release of the ABIO annual report that shows the number of new complaints it received grew by 7.8 per cent to 5,075 in 1998-99.

Telephone calls and enquires increased by 8.7 per cent to almost 50,000 calls in the same period.

Mr Neave said banks were subject to a Code of Banking Practice that set out the requirements for handling disputes internally, yet he believes the banks need to give the process more prominence.

“The promotion by all banks of internal dispute resolution services by, for example, providing a listed toll free number for those services would appear to be a first step in this regard,” he said.

Concerns about errors in transactions and calculations, including allegations of fraud, poor banking practice and poor service quality were the main complaints dealt with.

Complaints about housing loans and consumer finance were up 24 per cent.

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