Ombudsman for banking services

by | Aug 2, 2021 | Personal Finance

With the physical restrictions put in place because of Covid-19 lockdown, many banks have switched to interacting with their clients online. However, this seems to have increased the number of banking clients have with their banks.

The Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS) is the organization that resolves individual complaints about banking services and products.

Any bank customer who has a complaint against his or her bank may approach the Ombudsman for Banking Services for assistance. The service is free and the only requirements that must be met are that:

  • The complaint must be within the jurisdiction of the OBS
  • The customer must have followed the bank’s complaint handling procedures before approaching the OBS for assistance.


The Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS) can help with many banking complaints – but not all.


The OBS handles complaints in accordance with:

  • Its Terms of Reference and Operational Procedures
  • The Banking Association of South Africa’s Code of Banking Practice
  • Case law and relevant legislation
  • International Best Practice
  • Equity / Fairness


Which banks are participants?

Only banks that are members of the Banking Association of South Africa are bound by OBS rules.


Who can complain to the OBS

Any client of any bank – provided that the bank is member of BASA, and the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of what the  OBS may investigate.


The OBS can assist you with complaints if it:

  • relates to products or services provided by the bank;
  • involves a claim of R2 million or less;
  • arose within the past three years;
  • If the complainant is a company the annual business turnover must be less than R10 000 000.


The OBS is unable to handle a complaint if it relates to:

  • a bank’s commercial decision about lending or credit, interest rates or bank charges, unless there has been maladministration on the part of your bank;
  • a matter that would more appropriately be dealt with by a court of law or another dispute resolution process;
  • a matter which is or has been the subject of litigation, subject to certain exceptions.


You can contact the Ombudsman for banking services on www.obssa.co.za

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