If you and your bank can’t agree on how to solve a problem you have, you can always take it to an independent body – the Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS). The OBS will treat your complaint in a fair, impartial and confidential way, and their service is free. Their role is to help banks and their customers to resolve their disputes quickly and efficiently.
The OBS reports to a Board of four non-bankers (who are also independent of the company) and three bank representatives. The fact that most members of the board are not linked to the banks is to ensure consumers that the scheme is independent and impartial. Remember, though, that if you have a complaint about your bank, you must first approach the bank itself. Banks have 20 working days to resolve your complaint. If they can’t find a solution that satisfies you within that period, then you may approach the OBS for assistance. Following this important step helps the OBS to speed up the process of resolving your complaint. The scheme has several lawyers and ex-bankers that are dedicated to delivering excellent service in the complaints resolution process.
The OBS cannot make rules for the banking industry or deal with policy issues, nor give general advice about banking or financial matters. Commercial decisions taken by banks regarding fees or the granting of credit are out of the OBS’s jurisdiction, unless maladministration has occurred. So, for instance, the OBS can’t help you to get your bank to approve credit or alter your terms of repayment on a loan.
For further information, contact the OBS:
The OBS offices are on the 3rd floor, 17 Harrison Street, Johannesburg.