The banking Ombudsman has released its annual report, revealing which South African bank drew the most customer complaints in 2016.
According to the ombud there were a total of 5,219 cases opened against 17 different banks, over 74% of which were officially closed during the calendar year.
The majority of complaints (over 50%) were fraud related in some way. In these complaints, the complainant is overwhelmingly the victim of a scam. There is no maladministration on the part of the bank, according to the report.
Similarly, with debt-stressed complainants, the ombud found that there wass also no maladministration on the part of the bank, and complainants are simply looking to their banks to ameliorate their debt repayment obligations.
Most complained-about bank
As the biggest bank in South Africa by number of clients, it stands to reason that Standard Bank drew the most complaints during the year. However, when looking at the complaints as a portion of its banking clients, Standard Bank still takes the top spot.
Standard Bank boasted 11.8 million customers in December 2016, up from 11.6 million the previous year. More interesting is that the country’s second biggest bank (8.8 million clients) was only the 4th most complained about bank finishing behind both FNB (7.7 million) and Capitec (8.3 million).
How many complaints are resolved?
There was a slight drop in the number of cases found in favour of complainants for the year under review.
In the majority of cases (75.8%), the ombud found in favour of the bank, compared to 16.6% that were held in favour of the client, while just 0.2 withdrew their complaints completely.
In 2016 the ombud received 205 more internet banking complaints than in 2015. Interestingly, the majority of the internet banking complaints were related to cellphone banking, which increased by 7%. This suggests increased cellphone banking activity, but also a need for greater security, said the report.
There was also a 3% increase in credit card complaints. A staggering 36% of all credit card disputes were charge back disputes, where some element of fraud was alleged. This equates to a 16% increase year on year for this subcategory.