The Annual Report of the Banking and Financial Ombudsman for 2019 (Arbitro Bancario Finanziario, ABF) has been published.
The ABF was established in October 2009 and is now in its tenth year. This is an opportunity to reflect on the functionality of this institution in protecting customers of banks and financial intermediaries; its services are essentially free of charge and it is much quicker to respond than the ordinary legal system.
Over the years, the ABF has consolidated its role as an alternative dispute resolution body, and has received a total of more than 146,000 complaints from customers. This result has been achieved thanks to the decisions made by the Panels, which are autonomous and independent from the Bank of Italy and highly qualified in the fields of banking and financial law, consumer protection and economics. Banks and intermediaries have complied with almost all of the 132,000 decisions adopted over the last decade, even though they are not legally binding: in the last four years alone, over €83 million have been awarded to complainants.