Millennium Post

RBI directs PSBs, large private & foreign banks to appoint ombudsman

The RBI on Monday asked all public sector banks and large private and foreign banks including ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, StanChart and Citi Bank to appoint internal ombudsman for to resolution of customer complaints.

"The internal ombudsman would be designated Chief Customer Service Officer (CCSO)," it said, adding the CCSO should not have worked in the bank in which he/she is appointed as CCSO. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it has taken this initiative "to further boost the quality of customer service and to ensure that there is undivided attention to resolution of customer complaints in banks".

While all public sector banks will have to appoint a CCSO, the private sector and foreign banks which have been asked to make the appointment include: ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IndusInd Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Citi Bank N.A. and HSBC. The private and foreign banks have been selected on the basis of their asset size, and business mix, among other parameters.

The RBI had introduced the Banking Ombudsman Scheme (BOS) in 1995 to provide an expeditious and inexpensive forum to bank customers for resolution of complaints relating to deficiency in banking services provided by commercial banks, regional rural banks and scheduled primary co-operative banks.

From a total of 11 grounds of complaints, when the BO Scheme was introduced in 1995, currently, it provides for 27 grounds of complaints/deficiencies in bank services. The RBI operates the BOS, free of cost, so as to make it accessible to all. "The bank's internal ombudsman will be a forum available to bank customers for grievance redressal before they can even approach the Banking Ombudsman," RBI said, adding that it will shortly issue detailed operational guidelines in this regard.

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