Johannesburg, South Africa – The Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS) recently held its Annual Banking Awards ceremony in Johannesburg, celebrating banks and banking employees that showcased exceptional service and performance in managing customer complaints. The event, hosted on 24th November, highlighted institutions and individuals acknowledged for their excellence in handling disputes throughout the OBS’s 2022/23 financial year.
Reana Steyn, the OBS representative, lauded banks and their staff for their outstanding performance in managing customer complaints. She emphasized the importance of cooperation between banks and the ombudsman’s office in resolving customers’ issues efficiently.
This significant annual event, commemorating its 17th year, marked a poignant moment as it was the final ceremony of its kind. The OBS revealed that a new ombudsman scheme for the financial services industry is set to replace this tradition next year.
“As of 1st 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,” announced the OBS.
Steyn addressed the transition, stating, “While the OBS has functioned as an independent non-profit organization, and banks have acknowledged the ombudsman’s authority, the success of our work—and that of future ombudsmen under the new system—hinges on the cooperation of all banks involved.”
“We have established clear standards for banks, reflecting our commitment to delivering free, impartial, and expeditious resolution of banking complaints,” Steyn emphasized.
The OBS Annual Banking Awards comprised two categories: Category A for larger banks and Category B for smaller banks. Criteria for both categories were based on the quality of written responses to specific complaints, response times, and overall fairness of the response.
Nominees in this category included ABSA, FNB, and Standard Bank. FNB emerged as the recipient of the 2023 award, acknowledged for its outstanding performance.
Nominees in Category B were Investec, Postbank, and Access Bank. Investec claimed the award in this category for its exemplary service.
Individual efforts were also commended through awards for bank staff members who consistently demonstrated excellent service. Criteria for this recognition encompassed treating all complainants equally, providing efficient service, enhancing the bank’s service levels, and possessing extensive knowledge of the bank’s products and services.
Karen Jonker from ABSA Bank and Elias Mier from Postbank were honored as winners in this category, showcasing their dedication and expertise in handling customer complaints.
The OBS Annual Banking Awards ceremony served as a testament to the commitment of banks and their employees in ensuring the fair and efficient resolution of customer complaints. As the financial landscape evolves with the impending amalgamation of ombudsman schemes, the legacy of exemplary service and dedication to customer satisfaction remains a cornerstone in the banking sector’s ethos.