The Annual Report of the Banking and Financial Ombudsman for 2017 (Arbitro Bancario Finanziario, ABF) is now available.
Last year the ABF received approximately 30,600 complaints, a 42 per cent increase on 2016. In the first three months of 2018 around 8,000 complaints were received, broadly unchanged from the corresponding year-earlier period. The regions reporting the highest number of complaints relative to the resident populations were Calabria, Campania and Sicily.
Complaints still mostly concerned loans secured by a pledge of one-fifth of salary or pension (73 per cent of the total) though in the first three months of 2018 their share of the total declined to 63 per cent. The numbers continue to vary significantly across regions: in Molise, Calabria, Sicily and Campania, complaints about loans secured by one-fifth of salaries amounted to 80 per cent of the total, while in Trentino this share was under 60 per cent; ATM and debit cards accounted for over 10 per cent of complaints in Tuscany, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Piedmont and Trentino Alto Adige, but fewer than 5 per cent in Molise, Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia.
Some 24,000 decisions were taken last year (up 70 per cent thanks to greater productivity and the establishment of new panels). More than 77 per cent of the decisions essentially found in favour of the customer (47 per cent upheld; 30 per cent settled) with around €19 billion awarded to complainants. The level of customer satisfaction was measured in a survey: generally speaking respondents praised the system for its ease of access and transparency and complaints were mostly motivated by the desire to obtain an impartial judgment; however, only 35 per cent of respondents thought that the procedure’s length was appropriate