Ombudsman Bill for finance in pipeline
The proposed Financial Services Ombudsman Bill, will see the creation and appointment of an independent Financial Service Ombudsman (FSO).
This Ombudsman will be tasked to deal with complaints of customers of financial service providers, including banks, medical aid funds, pension funds, insurance companies and other providers registered with the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) and the Bank of Namibia. Marlize Horn, Executive Officer: Marketing and Corporate Communication Services at Bank Windhoek said, “ Bank Windhoek supports the creation of an office of an independent Financial Service Ombudsman as we place high premium on service delivery and transparency. Our Service Promise is to turn every customer interaction into a rewarding Bank Windhoek service experience.”
The services of the office of the proposed Ombudsman is expected to be free of charge, allowing clients who would otherwise not have been able to afford legal costs, to file a complaint against a financial service provider. The creation of an FSO Office will complement the Bankers’ Association of Namibia (BAN)’s Code of Banking Practice. The Code of Banking Practice, launched last year, is a voluntary code that sets standards of good banking practice for financial institutions, such as Bank Windhoek, to follow when dealing with customers. The FSO Office will also complement the Bank of Namibia’s Guidelines for Lodging Customer Complaints, developed and launched last year as part of the Code of Banking Practice, to guide clients of commercial banks when wanting to lodge complaints against a financial service provider.
Another expected benefit of the creation of the FSO Office would be an increased confidence in banking institutions as clients will be assured of the protection of their rights by the FSO when dealing with financial service providers. “Bank Windhoek staff members are guided by our Service Charter, which was re-launched last year to take into consideration the BAN’s Code of Banking Practice and the Bank of Namibia’s Guidelines for Lodging Customer Complaints. The Service Charter is the Bank’s own voluntary commitment towards the delivery of service and it also explains how customers can vent their complaints,” said Horn. “We welcome feedback from our clients and would like to encourage our clients to make use of the channels available to them to communicate with us,”she added.