Watchdog ticks off building societies
Sunday 30 June 1996
In his latest annual report, the Ombudsman, Brian Murphy, said that, despite societies' emphasis on how consumer-oriented they are, complaints and enquiries to his office rose by 27 per cent to 13,213 in the year to the end of March. Those requiring full investigation almost doubled to more than 2,000.
Mr Murphy put the increase down to complaints about eligibility for windfalls from societies being taken over or becoming banks and the greater complications of mortgage products. Notwithstanding his specific point about "best" accounts, the Ombudsman said that societies are generally getting better at such things as informing savers of interest rates. He also noted a significant decline in complaints about "obsolete" accounts - old accounts paying poor rates.
On windfalls, the Ombudsman said so far he has only been able to deal with complaints about the takeover of the Cheltenham & Gloucester by Lloyds Bank. Complaints that the society had encouraged savers to switch accounts and therefore lose their windfall entitlement were rejected, as were complaints about small-balance accounts being closed by the society in the run-up to the windfall announcement. In the latter case, savers had failed to respond to letters from the society warning them of the impending closure.
Mortgage-related complaints have increased steadily in recent years - and the Ombudsman's largest award last year for pounds 52,350 was for the writing- off of a mortgage shortfall.
Mr Murphy thinks societies are still not always making sufficiently clear the penalties that are the inevitable flipside of the heavily discounted and incentivised loan deals on offer.
The Ombudsman also held out some hope for borrowers disenchanted with societies not giving immediate credit for overpayments and part repayments of mortgages. Most societies calculate interest for the forthcoming year on the capital balance outstanding at the start of that year, so interim overpayments and repayments may not save you interest until the next annual review. But for mortgages taken out since June 1995 - when a European Union directive on unfair contracts came into force - the Ombudsman may take the view that "annual capitalisation" is not on.
o Office of the Building Societies Ombudsman, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4XS (0171-931 0044).
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 3 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...