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ombudsman news

issue 103

June/July 2012

banking on trust

Everywhere I've been in the last week or so, people have been asking me about computer problems affecting their bank accounts - and what they can do if things aren't sorted. We've been taking all kinds of worried and frustrated phone calls about this at the ombudsman service - mostly from consumers in the early stages of working out how any problems might affect them.

The reassuring news for consumers is that when similar - but smaller scale - things have happened in the past, the financial institutions concerned have stepped up and dealt with problems and concerns early on, right at the front-line. Only very few cases then needed to be escalated to the ombudsman, for us to deal with further down the line.

It's true that the recent situation involving people's day-to-day banking seems to have been unprecedented in scale. It affected more people immediately - and it could send ripples that might still be felt in some surprising places.

This makes it even more important that institutions across the banking sector work together and act quickly for the benefit of all their customers. We have been in touch to offer our help and insight where it might be useful. I am confident that, if the banking sector acts now - and shows a genuine commitment to re-building trust and supporting affected consumers - we shouldn't see many complaints later on.

In the meantime, we will continue to remind affected people that there are some simple things they can do to help themselves - like keeping a record of how they've been affected, so that their bank can help them sort things out. And we will continue to reassure people that rapid and concerted action is being taken to make sure they don't lose out.

Natalie Ceeney
chief executive and chief ombudsman

image: ombudsman news issue 101

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.