Ombudsman sees rise in consumer complaints about banking services and investments

By The IJ Staff | March 16 2017 01:30PM

The Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) saw a 12 per cent rise in consumer complaints last year compared to the year prior, says its 2016 annual report.

In a news release issued March 16, OBSI said the types of complaints Canadians have about their banking services and investments have stayed relatively consistent. “Mortgage products and the related fees and penalties continued to lead banking complaints. Mutual funds and their investment suitability, and disclosure issues continued to be the largest categories of OBSI's investment-related complaints.”

Overall complaint trends remained consistent

"While complaint volumes increased year over year, overall trends remained consistent," said Ombudsman Sarah Bradley. "We are seeing the same kinds of products and issues, and geographic distribution, as in recent years."

OBSI reports that in 2016 it received 5,055 inquiries and 640 cases were opened (12 per cent increase). Total compensation recommended amounted to $2,645,035.

Banking services statistics

With respect to banking services, OBSI opened 290 cases, a six per cent increase over 2015. “Mortgages represented 24 per cent of cases, with fees and penalties the top related issues.  Personal transaction accounts represented 20 per cent of cases, with relationship ended and fraud the top related issues.” The average compensation for banking-related complaints amounted to $4,016.

Investments statistics

In terms of investment complaints, OBSI opened 350 cases in 2016, up 17 per cent from 2015. “Mutual funds represented 44 per cent of cases, with suitability and disclosure the top related issues. Common shares or equities represented 34 per cent of cases, with suitability of the investment or suitability of margin or leverage the top related issues,” reports OBSI. The average compensation for investment-related complaints amounted to $15,552.

For more information, OBSI’s 2016 Annual Report can be found on the organization’s website in both English and French.

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