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Banking ombudsman receives more complaints

Banking ombudsman Hanspeter Häni said complaints received by his office increased by 30 percent in 1998 - partly because of the increasing complexity of banking services. The office received 1,180 complaints.

This content was published on July 5, 1999 - 16:37


Banking ombudsman Hanspeter Häni said complaints received by his office increased by 30 percent in 1998 - partly because of the increasing complexity of banking services. The office received 1,180 complaints.

Addressing a news conference in Zurich, Häni said last year he had been able to concentrate on his core activity of providing a point of contact and mediation services for clients of Swiss banks.

Häni said one in five complaints involved banking errors - which marked a new record level. He added that banking clients appeared to have become more critical with regard to banking services.

Banking charges also figured high on the list of complaints. Banks in some cases raised or introduced fees without informing the client and Häni voiced strong disapproval of such business practices, describing them as a violation of customer trust.

Other points of contention include the banks' credit policies. Häni said banks increasingly gave ultimatums at short notice instead of contacting customers well in advance.

Häni also expressed concern about the issue of contracts. "The clients often forget that a verbal contract is binding," he said, adding that it was up to the banks to make this clear to their customers.

During the previous years, said Häni, most queries were related to the search for unclaimed Holocaust-era assets. The banking ombudsman received more than 3,000 queries related to this issue since the start of 1996. Häni said that in 64 of these cases his office was able to trace a bank account or relevant funds.


Source: sda-ats, APD

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