Banking ombudsman


The banking Ombudsman Scheme, formulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) aims to resolve complaints about inadequate services rendered by the bank to their clients. Beginning this year, the ambit of this scheme has been widened.

Today, banks offer a gamut of products and services to attract customers. Some of these products and services have a cost attached to them. Therefore, if you are paying for accessing any of these you expect to receive the best service from your bank in return, without any delay or discrepancy.

However, at times, the service that you receive may not be up to the mark. Under such circumstances, if you wish to lodge a complaint, then your primary step would be to write to the customer Service department of your bank. In case of a non-response by the bank or on receipt of an unsatisfactory reply, the client can approach the “Banking Ombudsman� for the grievance to be redressed.

Certain new banking service areas have been included in the scheme such as all transaction-related complaints pertaining to ATMs, debit cards and credit cards, levy of service charges without prior intimation, non-adherence by the bank to the ‘fair practices’ code. Non-compliance by the sales agents of the bank for services promised by them is also included in the scope. Further, now a client can lodge online complaints as well.

The RBI has constituted a new department Customer Service Department which will administer the complaints received under the Banking Ombudsman scheme. This is to ensure that the process of settling the complaints are strengthened and the quality of customer service is improved.

Filing the Complaint:

As on date, there are approximately 15 banking Ombudsman offices located in the various state capitals across the country in India. The addresses of the same can be obtained from the RBI website. Complaints can be lodged online or offline at no cost. While filing the complaint, the client must ensure that all the requisite information is submitted to the ombudsman. This includes the client’s complete name and address, the complete name and address of the bank against which the complaint is lodged, reasons for the complaint along with the necessary document support (if any), the nature and extent of the emotional and/or financial loss caused by the bank and the relief sought by the client from the Banking Ombudsman . Over and above this, a declaration is also required to be signed which needs to be submitted to the banking Ombudsman for complying with the terms and conditions of the banking Ombudsman scheme.

Filing Complaint First with client’s Bank—A Pre-requisite:

It is mandatory for the client to first lodge a complaint in writing with the bank concerned. Only if the complaint is rejected or the bank has not responded to the complaint within a period of 1 month from the date of receiving the complaint or the response received is unsatisfactory, then only the client can approach the banking ombudsman.

Banking Ombudsman can reject a complaint:

It is not mandatory for the Banking Ombudsman to redress each and every complaint that it receives. It has the authority to reject a complaint. Some of the grounds on which it can reject a complaint are:

Ø If the complaint is frivolous in nature.

Ø If there is no justified cause for grievance.

Ø If the complaint is not supported by necessary proof or documents.

Ø If there has been no loss, damage or inconvenience caused to the complainant.

To sum up:

With a revision of the Banking Ombudsman scheme, the clients now have access to a more flexible and prompt mechanism for addressing their complaints. However, before approaching the Banking Ombudsman the client must make sure to take up with the bank concerned with his account or service and try to get the issue resolved.