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AFCA on Banks and Credit products

The recently released six-monthly report from the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has highlighted banks as the most-complained-against entities, with 12,305 listed complaints. Next in line are general insurers, with 6,839 complaints.

In fact, banking and finance amassed a grand total 21,3790 complaints out of the 35,263 complaints noted in the report.

Fortunately, the report went on to highlight that 60 per cent of complaints made to them have been resolved, with 77 per cent of those resolved within the first 60 days of the complaint first being made.

“We want to give consumers and small businesses the tools to make informed choices about the financial products and services they use, and for members to have a statistical understanding of how they compare with their counterparts and the areas where they can improve,” AFCA CEO and Chief Ombudsman, David Locke, wrote.

The main issues identified in the report were:

  • Misleading conduct

  • Conduct of employee/authorised representatives

  • Adequacy of claims-handling processes

  • Processing errors

The top complaints centred around credit issues and credit card complaints. Credit reporting received over 2,285 complaints and credit cards received over 5,191 complaints.

On the same day the report was released, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released a public statement indicating that, despite constant reminders to the financial services sector that they needed to become members of the complaints body, they still had to ‘advise’ 58 financial services and 217 credit licensees to meet their license conduct obligations.

“ASIC has taken proactive measures to protect consumers from those few financial services licensees and credit licensees who were not complying with the obligations of their licence by being a member of AFCA. ASIC’s intervention means that consumers now have access to the independent dispute resolution scheme of AFCA, if their complaints are not being properly considered by the financial services licensee or credit licensee,” ASIC Commissioner Sean Hughes said.

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