Ombuds services respond to FCAC review report

By The IJ Staff | February 20 2020 12:00PM


Following a report released Feb. 19 from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), which found that consumers generally face delays and complications when escalating banking complaints, two ombuds services which were singled out in the report, the ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office (ADRBO) and the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) both released their own statements to address the FCAC’s concerns.

Although the FCAC found that the external complaints bodies met most regulatory requirements, it also found deficiencies, opportunities for improvement and areas where the services could follow international best practices more closely.

In Canada, the resolution system for bank complaints uses a combination of internal bank complaint handling procedures and external complaint bodies (ECBs), the ADRBO and the OBSI. The FCAC’s report found that most consumers are not aware of the ECB’s existence.

In a statement released after the report, the ADRBO said it would work on implementing all of the recommendations in the report. “We can always do more to ensure that Canada is an international leader in consumer financial protection,” said ADRBO ombudsman, Britt Warlop. “Looking ahead, ADRBO commits that we will make the necessary changes to ensure Canadians continue to have access to an accessibly, transparent, efficient and fair process. We are taking important steps to strengthen our operations and we are putting in place an action plan to implement all of the FCAC’s proposed improvements.”

OBSI, meanwhile, calling the report insightful and comprehensive, took the opportunity to call for changes that would lead to the country having only one ombudsman for bank services. “We share the FCAC’s concerns about whether the current system of competition between ECBs in Canada benefits consumers,” says Sarah Bradley, OBSI’s ombudsman and chief executive officer. “We continue to believe there should be a single ombudsman for retail bank consumers as there is for retail investors in Canada.”

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