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 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Budget 2015: George Osborne to axe subsidies for higher income earners in social housing
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...