Bi-Annual Review (July to December 2012)

Press Release - 31 January 2013

The Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO) William Prasifka publishes his Office’s Bi-Annual Review (July to December 2012) on Thursday 31 January 2013, available online (PDF document).

The Review shows that:

  • 8,135 complaints were made by Consumers to the FSO in 2012, the highest figure since the FSO was established and a 12% increase on 2011.
  • Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) complaints, representing 32% of all insurance complaints in 2012, have increased by 216% on 2011 figures.
  • Banking complaints increased by 15% on 2011, with mortgage complaints accounting for almost 40% of all banking complaints.
  • Banking complaints about customer care and maladministration doubled during 2012.
  • Investment complaints continue to decrease, reflecting the downward trend in such complaints over the last number of years.
  • In the last 6 months, there was a 50% increase in the number of complaints settled by financial institutions before full investigation, in comparison to January to June 2012.
  • 2,990 Findings were issued by the FSO in 2012.
  • Compensation totalling approximately €1,735,000 was awarded in 2012.

In publishing the Review, Mr Prasifka states that:

“The complaint trends in 2012 are of great concern. While more complaints are being settled on referral to the FSO, it is not in the interest of Consumers or Financial Institutions to see a continued increase in complaints overall.

The reason for the increase in complaints is clear and this increase is likely to continue; this Office remains at the centre of dealing with legacy issues arising out of the financial crisis. For many citizens, their lives cannot move forward until these matters are dealt with fairly, effectively and expeditiously.

The complaints trends are also clear; much more needs to be done by Financial Institutions to engage with Consumers before complaints arise. Some Financial Institutions have significantly improved their complaint handling record, leading to earlier resolution of complaints. However, other Institutions’ complaint records have remained static or indeed deteriorated. Simply referring matters to the FSO on an ongoing basis without a genuine effort to resolve complaints earlier has never been acceptable, even more so in the current environment.

The increasing number of PPI complaints is an opportunity for Financial Institutions to show if they are genuinely willing to engage with alleged mis-selling and the well-publicised issues regarding PPI products.

Complaint types and volume within the Banking sector also reflect the challenges faced by consumers. Cases regarding mortgage accounts in particular highlight the difficulties and financial hardship facing mortgage account holders.

While the number of new complaints and complaints in formal investigation remain at record levels, the FSO is committed to dealing with these in a timely manner and within our current resources.”

For further information please contact:

Conor Cashman, 01 631 8575

Financial Services Ombudsman’s Bureau, 3rd Floor, Lincoln House, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01 - 6620899 Email: media@financialombudsman.ie