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New law is likely to up number of complaints received by Banking Services Ombudsman

By unknown | Jul 05, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

Banks and consumers will have a hard time pulling one over the recently appointed Banking Services Ombudsman, Advocate Clive Pillay.

As a former Asset Forfeiture Unit deputy director and attorney, Pillay has much experience dealing with criminals.

He said one of his primary goals would be to ensure that consumers were aware of his organisation's existence, especially the under-banked market. He also wants to enhance the communication between banks and their customers.

"I would like to achieve an awareness in the under-banked population of their rights. Our service is free and many people don't know where to turn for help," Pillay said.

"Many financial institutions have made headway in bringing this market to the formal banking sector, but I would also like to ensure that they know of our existence and what our role is in helping them," he said.

Pillay took on his five-year tenure position in May. He is anticipating more complaints because consumers gained more rights from the recently implemented National Credit Act.

"We will only experience the impact or inflow of the act in the next eight to 15 months, as consumers will begin to have an awareness and enforce their rights," Pillay said.

"From reading last year's annual report from my predecessor, it would seem some of the problems were around the insistence by banks on unlimited suretyships, though the act now deals with this issue, there are losses at ATM's, the absence of an electronic funds transfer code, problems around mortgage finance and mortgage insurance and funeral policies," he said.

"It's too early to tell what the actual complaints will be."

The Banking Services Ombudsman's website is www.obssa.co.za.


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