The private commercial banks’ Ombudsman Scheme: Federal Court of Justice verdict triggers sharp increase in complaints
“The Ombudsman Scheme was heavily affected last year by the Federal Court of Justice’s verdict on loan processing fees,” said Michael Kemmer, general manager of the Association of German Banks, when presenting the 2014 Ombudsman’s Report today. This was down, specifically, to the rulings of 13 May and 28 October 2014 on non-term-linked processing fees for consumer loan agreements. The result was a flood of complaints at the end of the year: the association’s Customer Complaints Office received a total of 108,500 complaints for 2014, 95% of which concerned loan processing fees. By way of comparison, the average number of complaints submitted to the private commercial banks’ ombudsmen in previous years was between 6,000 and 8,000.
Nevertheless, Mr Kemmer’s message was positive: “We responded immediately to the flood of complaints by taking a number of emergency measures. In the meantime, we have managed to settle just under 80,000 complaints.”
Besides loan processing fees, customer complaints again covered the full range of classical banking business last year. The new Ombudsman’s Report contains a representative sample of ombudsman decisions along with details of the business areas involved and statistical information.
In addition, legislation protecting consumers in the financial marketplace continued to make significant progress in 2014. “The regulatory framework for out-of-court dispute resolution is also becoming tighter,” Mr Kemmer said. Following the adoption of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Directive at EU level in June 2013, the “Law Implementing the Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes and Implementing the Regulation on Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes” is now being debated in the German Bundestag. “The Association of German Banks will continue to both closely follow and constructively contribute to the legislative process,” Mr Kemmer added.
The 2014 Ombudsman’s Report, as well as other booklets on the Ombudsman Scheme, can be downloaded at www.bankenverband.de/publikationen/
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