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25 years of making banking better

25 years of making banking better

Today we released three video clips that collectively tell the story of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme’s first 25 years and its role in helping to make banking in New Zealand better.

“Here’s the story of the scheme through the eyes and voices of bank customers, the chief executives of some our member banks, and leaders over the first 25 years of our existence,” says Banking Ombudsman Nicola Sladden.

“The scheme’s mission is simple: to support better banking.”

Since 1992, the scheme has helped over 78,000 people, and facilitated the payment of $38.9 million in compensation to customers.

“We provide New Zealanders with an independent, accessible and fair means of sorting out banking problems,” says Nicola. “It’s a service that’s quick, easy to use and free.”

“The scheme itself has evolved as banking has gone through massive technological and regulatory changes.”

“In the early days of the scheme, before most people had even heard of the internet, we dealt with a lot of complaints about cheques and missing passbook accounts. And robo-advice and bitcoins were something glimpsed only in the work of science fiction.

“While banking is becoming increasingly automated, it will always be people who are at the heart of banking. New technology gives rise to new problems. So there will still be things that go wrong.

“A lot has changed, but we are still here to work with customers who have been unable to resolve their problems directly with their bank. We make life easier for customers if things go wrong. We are here to listen and help put things right.

“Prevention and real-time resolution have become the mantra in recent times. We aim to head off problems before they escalate.

“We’ve developed a strong advisory role, giving clear and practical advice on everything from protecting yourself against phishing scams, to debt recovery processes and advice on disputed transactions and chargebacks.

“The net result is that bank practices and customer behaviour alike have changed. Disputes are on a fairly steep decline though enquiries remain strong.

“The videos we’ve released today help to tell this story in snapshots. It’s a story worth celebrating as the scheme looks forward to its next 25 years.”

You can watch each of the videos here:

Annual report

The scheme has also released its 2016-17 annual report on its website in a new infographic format.

The report details such highlights as:

• A wide range of people use us – our age and ethnicity demographics match that of New Zealand’s population.

• Our overall caseload is going up, but problems are getting sorted more and more quickly, before they escalate.

• Even when things do end up in a formal investigation, we’re getting faster and reaching a decision within 60 working days.

• We get fair outcomes – 57 per cent of our cases are resolved by mutual agreement and lots are sorted through explanations and apologies.

• Our customers like the fact we’re fair, friendly and free – customer satisfaction is 82 per cent, up from 78 per cent in 2015-16.

• We put a real focus on education and information – we have 39 customer guides on our website, and our website visits were up 26 per cent on last year (144,228 users).

You can read our annual report here:


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