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FSPO upheld ten complaints against BoI in 2022
Pic: RollingNews.ie

24 Mar 2023 / regulation Print

FSPO upheld ten complaints against BoI in 2022

The Financial Service and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) says that it received 4,781 complaints last year – a slight increase compared with 2021.

It expressed concern, however, about an increase in complaints about customer service at banks and other financial-services firms. Customer service accounted for 28% of complaints last year, compared with 23% in 2021.

Ombudsman Liam Sloyan described the rise as “disappointing”, coming from an already high level in 2021.

“Customer-service issues can include a provider’s failure to provide information, complaint-handling issues, and accessibility and communication issues. Many of the consumers making complaints to the FSPO could have had their complaints addressed by their provider, at an earlier point in time,” he stated.

Exit of two banks

The FSPO also identified firms against which three or more complaints were upheld, substantially upheld, or partly upheld during 2022.

This shows that Bank of Ireland had ten complaints against it upheld to some extent, followed by Permanent TSB with nine.

There were six against Ulster Bank and five against KBC Bank, both of which are leaving the Irish market.

Sloyan said that the FSPO had received fewer than 100 complaints about the two banks’ exit by the end of 2022.

“It is very positive that, to date, for the vast majority of impacted consumers, the departure of two major banks has not given rise to issues leading to a complaint being made to this office,” he said.

More pensions complaints

The number of complaints about banking, which made up more than half of all complaints, was little changed compared with 2021, but there was an increase of 25% in the number of complaints relating to pensions.

Investment complaints also rose slightly, but complaints about insurance dropped by 10%.

The Ombudsman’s office received 139 new tracker-mortgage interest-rate complaints in 2022, and had more than 1,000 tracker complaints on hand at the end of 2022.

Mediation settlements

The FSPO’s figures show that more than €3.4 million was paid by providers to complainants in mediation settlements, achieved through the FSPO’s dispute-resolution service in relation to 1,137 complaints.

Another €965,527 was paid to complainants by providers to settle complaints during the FSPO’s formal investigation process.

The combined value of compensation directed in legally binding decisions was €616,686.

The FSPO said that these figures did not include what it called “the very significant benefits” of redress by rectification, secured by complainants through a legally binding direction of the Ombudsman.

“The Ombudsman can direct a provider to rectify the conduct that is the subject of the complaint, and there is no limit to the value of the rectification that can be directed,” the report pointed out.

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