The 21 Offices of Banking Ombudsman (OBO) received 163,590 complaints in FY18, an annual increase of 24.9 per cent. Inclusive of the pending complaints at the start of the year, it was up by 28 per cent, but the good news was that the disposal rate was 96.5 per cent compared to the 92 per cent in FY17, says the Reserve Bank of India’s Annual Report of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme released last week. There was a marked uptick in the number of complaints resolved through mediation, which rose to 65.82 per cent from 42.43 per cent during this period.
The major grounds for complaints were non-observance of the fair practices code (22.1 per cent), ATM and debit cards (15.1 per cent), credit cards (7.7 per cent), failure to meet commitments (6.8 per cent), and mobile and electronic banking (5.2 per cent). Complaints relating to ‘Pension’, ‘Levy of Charges without Notice’, ‘Loans and Advances’, ‘Remittance’, ‘DSA and Recovery Agents’ and ‘Mis-selling’ accounted for five per cent or less. With expansion of the grounds on which appeals can be filed against the decision of the Ombudsman, there was an eight-fold rise in the number of appeals at 125 in FY18 compared to 15 in FY17. The average cost of handling a complaint came down to Rs 3,504 during this period from Rs 3,626 due to efficiency and economies of scale.