Increased working load for banking ombudsman

Requests and complaints to the Swiss banking ombudsman in 1999 went up by a quarter over the previous year. His office last year dealt with a total of 1,467 cases, many concerning dormant accounts.

This content was published on July 11, 2000 - 16:28

At a news conference in Zurich, the ombudsman, Hanspeter Häni, gave details of his activities last year, saying 600 requests were made in connection with dormant accounts.

Häni interpreted the rise in his caseload as proof that both banks and bank clients were showing increasing confidence in the banking ombudsman.

"People are getting to know that the banking ombudsman exists and can help them in a dispute or in explaining a situation," he told swissinfo.

"The more services that are offered, and the more complex these services are, the more questions and conflicts arise," he added.

The number of written requests soared by 60 per cent last year to 730. However, the number of telephone inquiries remained the same at 640 calls.

In 76 cases, the ombudsman recommended that the bank concerned make a full correction or pay compensation. In 70 others, a compromise solution had been found.

"For me it’s also a success when I can explain a situation to a client and he is content with the solution we find," Häni explained.

The development of Internet banking is presenting new challenges for the ombudsman's office, as domestic banks encourage more of their clients to do their banking from home via their personal computers.

"The Internet is new not only for customers, but also for banks and our office, so we have to learn what to do. The banks have to be more conciliatory so disputes can be more easily resolved," Häni said.

swissinfo with agencies

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