FNB crowned best bank for resolving complaints

FNB won first place among the country’s big banks for resolving complaints at the 2023 Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS)  Annual Banking Awards ceremony.

The OBS Annual Banking Awards ceremony took place in Johannesburg on 24 November.

The ceremony is held to recognise the banks and their staff that delivered excellent service and performance, judged on how they handled disputes during the OBS’s 2022/23 financial year.

The 2023 ceremony, which has been an annual event for the past 17 years, was the last of its kind. 

This is because a new ombudsman scheme for the financial services industry comes into effect next year. 

On 1 March 2024, the four voluntary financial ombud schemes – the OBS, Long-term Insurance Ombudsman, Credit Ombud and Short-Term Insurance Ombudsman – will amalgamate into a single new entity.

“In as much as the OBS has functioned as an independent non-profit organisation, and the banks recognise the authority of the ombudsman, the work that we do – and the work ombudsmen under the new system will do – cannot be fully accomplished without the co-operation of all the banks involved,” OBS Reana Steyn said. 

“We have set measurable standards for the banks, which have reflected our values in promising to deliver free, impartial and speedy resolutions of banking complaints.”

For the 2023 awards, there were two categories – big banks and smaller banks.

For both categories, the criteria were:

  • The quality of the bank’s written replies to the office in response to specific complaints
  • The response time
  • The overall fairness of the response

In the big banks category, the nominees were ABSA, FNB, and Standard Bank. The 2023 award went to FNB.

In the smaller banks category, the nominees were Investec, Postbank and Access Bank, and Investec took first place.

The OBS also awarded bank staffer awards to recognise the individual efforts of bank staff members who “impressed with their consistently excellent service”. 

The following criteria were applied –

  • Treating all complainants with equal dignity and respect and affording all complaints the necessary level of attention
  • Providing prompt and efficient service to the complainant and the OBS
  • Initiating and improving measures and service level agreements to enhance their bank’s level of service in complaints handling
  • Being knowledgeable about the bank’s products, services and processes, including internal complaints handling mechanisms as well as those of the OBS

The winners in this category were Karen Jonker from ABSA Bank and Elias Mier from Postbank.

There was also an award for the OBS staff member who represents the OBS’s internal and cultural values and who is judged by his or her peers to go beyond the call of duty. 

The 2023 OBS staff member winner was Palesa Zwane. 

“This has always been the highlight for me because this nomination is about the OBS employees recognising one another. It is about the team member, as voted for by the team. I am proud to congratulate Palesa as this year’s winning staff member,” Steyn said.


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