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Banks 'not coming to grips with financial crisis' as complaints rise

The Financial Services Ombudsman has said the industry is “not responding” to his concerns.

Bank workers in the IFSC
Bank workers in the IFSC
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

IRISH BANKS ARE failing to learn lessons from the economic crisis, prompting more and more customers to make complaints, the Financial Services Ombudsman has said.

Figures released last night show that there were 3,780 complaints about financial institutions in the first six months of 2011 – up five per cent on the previous six-month period. Moreover there was a significant increase in the number of these which were upheld by the Ombudsman, with the proportion rising from 24 to 29 per cent.

The biannual report from the Ombudsman’s office also highlighted a dramatic rise in the number of complaints made by people in financial difficulties. Mortgage protection complaints shot up by 53 per cent.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning, ombudsman Bill Prasifka said: “The industry is not really coming to grips with the challenges of the financial crisis.” He added:

Complaints were always at historically high levels but we’re up five per cent on trends previously. We’re also getting more complaints driven by people in financial distress. So the trends are not good. We’re getting more complaints, more from people in financial distress, and parts of the industry are not responding.

Mr Prasifka highlighted misselling of products and maladministration as particular areas of concern, saying: “We’re upholding the same findings over and over again.” He called for the Financial Services Ombudsman to be able to name and shame institutions which repeatedly flout the rules.

Read more: ‘Designed to protect the banks’: Mortgage group slates debt relief report>

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Michael Freeman

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