Banking Ombudsman Scheme: Here is the procedure to lodge a complaint against your Bank:
Mr. Rahul Singh, has a bank account with a nationalised bank. He opened few deposit accounts with the bank and wanted to close the same due to some immediate requirement of the funds. However, the bank officials did not cooperate with Mr. Singh, and he had to face a lot of issues in getting the funds released to his account. In another case, Mr. Gautam Bhimani, an IT professional approached the bank for the home loan. He submitted all the requisite documents to the bank; however, his loan application was rejected by the bank without giving him valid reason for the rejection.
In yet another case, Mr. Rohan Kumar bought a credit card from another nationalised bank. One day, while checking his credit card bill, Mr. Kumar noticed a yearly fee, late payment and interest charges on his bill. When he bought the card, he was told by the bank’s selling agent that there would not be any annual fee on the card, but when Mr. Kumar tried contacting the bank for the waiver of the charges, his request was denied by the bank.There are many such cases where people have to face problems while dealing with their banks. To resolve such issues and provide relief to the customers, RBI launched Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006. The post below will take you through the details on the Banking Ombudsman Scheme and the procedure to file a complaint about deficiency in banking services.
What is a Banking Ombudsman Scheme?
Banking Ombudsman is a scheme introduced by RBI that provides a fast and inexpensive forum to the bank customers for the resolution of any complaints on certain services rendered by the banks. The scheme was introduced under section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and is effective from 1995. All Scheduled Commercial Banks, Scheduled Primary Co-operative Banks and Regional Rural Banks are covered under the scheme.
Who is a Banking Ombudsman?
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has designated a senior official known as the Banking Ombudsman for the resolution of the customer complaints against the deficiency in specified banking services. As on October 20, 2016, there are 15 Baking Ombudsman Officer appointed by RBI with their offices located mostly in the capitals of the state. Below is the link to find the detail on name and address of the office of the Banking Ombudsman:
Note: The Banking Ombudsman does not charge any fee for filing and resolving customer’s complaint.
Reasons for filing a complaint
A complaint can be filed with the Banking Ombudsman for any of the following reasons while dealing with your bank (including internet banking):
• Non-acceptance of small denomination notes without any valid reason and for charging of commission on the same.
• Non-payment or unreasonable delay in the payment or collection of drafts, cheques, bills, etc.
• Non-payment or delay in the payment of inward remittances.
• Non-acceptance of coins without any sufficient reason and for charging commission on the same.
• For not adhering to the prescribed working hours.
• For not issuing or for the delay in issuing pay orders, drafts or bankers cheque.
• For delay, non-credit of proceeds to the customer accounts, non-payment of deposit or non-observance of RBI instructions, if any, for interest rate on deposits in current, savings or any other account maintained with a bank.
• For not providing or delay in providing a banking facility which was promised in writing by the bank or its direct selling agents.
• For refusing to open deposit accounts without giving any valid reason.
• In case of Non-Residential Indians who are having an account in India and are facing problems with the remittances from abroad, deposits and other banking transactions.
• For not adhering to the RBI instructions on ATM/Debit card/Credit card operations.
• For imposing charges without any adequate prior notification.
• For not accepting payment or delay in accepting payment towards taxes as necessitated by RBI.
• Non-disbursement or delay in disbursing the pension (In this case complaint can be made against the bank but not with regards to its employees).
• Forced closure of deposit accounts without any prior notice or sufficient reason.
• Not issuing or delay in issuing Government Securities.
• Not servicing or delay in servicing or redemption of Government Securities.
• Refusing to close or delay in closing the accounts.
• Non-observance of RBI guidelines on the engagement of recovery agents by banks.
• For not adhering to the fair practices code required to be adopted by the bank.
• For not adhering to the provisions of the Code of Bank’s Commitments to Customers issued by Banking Codes and Standards Board of India.
• Any other matter related to the violation of the RBI instructions on banking or other services.
In case of Loans and Advances:
A complaint can be filed with the Banking Ombudsman for any of the below deficiency in services provided by the banks:
• Non-observance of RBI directives on interest rates.
• Non-acceptance of loan applications without any valid reason.
• Delay in sanction, disbursement or non-observance of the prescribed schedule for disposal of loan applications.
• Not adhering to the fair practices code for lenders or Code of Bank’s Commitment to customers.
• Non-observance of any other instructions of RBI with respect of loans and advances from time to time.
*On 23 June 2017, RBI extended the scope of the Banking Ombudsman to include deficiencies arising out of sale of third party investment products like insurance, mutual funds and other financial products by banks. It deals with the following issues:
• Improper and unsuitable sale of third party financial products.
• Lack of adequate transparency in the sale of third party financial products.
• Non-disclosure of grievance redressal mechanism available.
• Delay or refusal to provide after-sales services by the bank.
When can you file a complaint?
A complaint can be filed with the Banking Ombudsman if you have not received any reply from the bank within one month after the bank has received your complaint or your complaint has been rejected by the bank or if you are not satisfied with the reply from the bank.
Where can you file a complaint?
You can file a complaint by yourself or through your authorised representative (other than an advocate) with the Banking Ombudsman under whose jurisdiction the office or branch of the bank is located against which the complaint is made.
Note: In case of complaints arising out of the credit cards operations and any other types of services with the centralised operations, the complaint shall be filed with the Banking Ombudsman under whose geographical jurisdiction your billing address is located.
Ways to file a complaint
You can file a complaint by writing on a plain paper. You need to mention the following in your complaint:
• Your name and address
• Name and address of the office or branch of the bank against which the complaint is made
• Facts giving rise to the complaint
• Extent and nature of the loss caused to you
• Relief you are looking for
Note: The letter has to be duly signed by you or your authorised representative. You can also attach the copy of the supporting documents along with your complaint.
You can also file an electronic complaint by sending an email to the Banking Ombudsman.
You can also file a complaint online. You are required to fill a form along with the details of the scheme. However, it is not mandatory to use this format. To file a complaint online, you have to click on the link below:
The following page will appear on your screen:
1. If you select “Yes” as your answer, you will have the following page appearing on your screen:
a. If you select “Yes”, you will be forwarded to the “Complaint- Check form” in which you have to fill the Bank name, Account No, Your name and Mobile No.
b. If you select “No”, a pop-up message will appear asking you to wait for 30 days from the lodge of complaint with the bank.
2. If you select “No” as your answer, you will be redirected to the “Complaint- Upload Form” as displayed below:
Note: You can upload your proof after filling the Complaint Form. Proof should only be in either pdf or txt format.
Conditions where the Banking Ombudsman will not consider your complaint
The Banking Ombudsman will not consider your complaint under the following conditions:
• You have not approached the bank first for redressal of the dispute.
• You have not made the complaint within one year from the date you received the reply from the bank.
• You did not file a complaint with the Banking Ombudsman in case of no reply from the bank after the completion of more than one year and one month from the date of filing the complaint with the bank.
• The proceeds on the complaint are pending for disposal or have already been dealt with at any other forum such as court, tribunal or arbitrator.
• The institution against which complaint is made is not covered under the scheme.
• If the complaint is made for the same reason which was settled by the Banking Ombudsman in any previous proceedings.
• The cause of the complaint is not within the scope of the Banking Ombudsman.
• Complaint is vexatious or frivolous in nature.
The amount to be paid by the bank to the complainant by way of compensation for any loss suffered by the complainant is restricted to the lower of the amount arising directly out of the act or omission of the bank or Rs. 10 lakhs.
*With effect from 1 July 2017, the monetary compensation to be awarded by the Banking Ombudsman has been increased from existing Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.
Additionally, the Ombudsman may award a compensation not exceeding Rs. 1 lakh to the complainant for loss of time, expenses incurred as also, harassment and mental anguish suffered by the complainant.
Conditions for rejection of complaint at a later stage
The Banking Ombudsman may reject your complaint at any stage due to the following reasons:
• Complaint is not in line with any of the reasons mentioned above for filing the complaint.
• Compensation sought for is beyond Rs. 10 lakhs.
*This ceiling has been revised to Rs 20 lakhs. Now, complaints seeking compensation beyond Rs 20 lakhs may be rejected.
• Complaint is without any sufficient reason.
• Compliant requires consideration of oral evidence and elaborate documentary & the proceedings are not sufficient for the settlement of such complaint.
• If the banking Ombudsman thinks that there is no inconvenience or loss or damage is caused to the complainant.
What happens when the Banking Ombudsman receives a complaint?
The Banking Ombudsman seeks to settle the complaint by agreement between the complainant and the bank against which the complaint is made, through mediation or conciliation.
If the complainant accepts the terms of settlement offered by the bank in full and final, an order will be passed by the Banking Ombudsman as per the terms of the settlement and this order will be a binding on the complainant and the bank.
What if the complaint is not settled through the agreement?
The Banking Ombudsman passes an award if the complaint is not settled within one month of the agreement. The Banking Ombudsman gives reasonable opportunity to the bank and the complainant for presenting their cases before passing an award. It depends on the complainant to accept or reject the award.
What if I am not satisfied with the Banking Ombudsman decision?
You can approach the appellate authority if you are not satisfied with the decision made by the Banking Ombudsman. Appellate authority is granted to the Deputy Governor of RBI. You have to appeal within 30 days from the date of receipt of communication of award or rejection of complaint.
If you do not appeal to the appellate authority within the specified time frame, it may allow you a further period not exceeding 30 days to appeal, provided you have a sufficient reason for not appealing within the given time frame and the appellate authority is satisfied with the reason.