MUMBAI: Complaints related to debit cards, mobile/digital banking and credit cards continued to be the top three categories of customers grievances against banks according to the banking ombudsman’s annual report.
While the share of plaints against debit cards have fallen, those against credit cards are on the rise. The other two major categories of complaints are a failure by banks to meet commitments and non-observance of the fair practices code.
The share of ATM/debit card complaints, mobile/electronic banking and credit card complaints to total complaints received from July 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 stood at 17.4%, 13% and 12.4%, respectively. The corresponding percentage of complaints against these grounds from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 were 22%, 13.4% and 9.3%.
The shift to digital platforms for grievance redressal has led to two major gains. First, the cost of redressing grievances has fallen sharply. Second, there has been an improvement in the turnaround time (TAT).
The average cost of handling a complaint under the banking ombudsman scheme decreased by 33.5% from Rs 2,412 during July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020 to Rs 1,605 from July 1, 2020-March 31, 2021. “The cost reduction was on account of the increased volume of complaints handled by the same human resources, supported by the end-to-end digitisation of complaint processing in the complaint management system (CMS),” the report said.
The time taken to dispose of a complaint by the banking ombudsman declined significantly from 95 days during July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 to 55 days from July 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021. “The TAT pertaining to all the complaint categories showed a substantial decline, which is mainly due to resolving of the technical glitches faced during the initial period of CMS transition.” The CMS also aided in uninterrupted operations throughout the year, despite the pandemic.
The reporting year has changed along with the change in the accounting year for the RBI. As a result, the numbers in absolute terms are not comparable. However, RBI deputy governor M K Jain said in his foreword to the annual report, “On an annualised basis, a spurt of 22.3% was witnessed in the number of complaints received under the three ombudsman schemes in operation.” The three schemes are for banks, finance companies and digital transactions, which have now been integrated under a unified ombudsman. Next year’s annual report will be a unified one.