6 Mar 2007

Fiji commercial banks oppose establishment of Banking Ombudsman

10:28 am on 6 March 2007

Fiji's main commercial banks have opposed the establishment of a Banking Ombudsman.

A Banking Ombudsman was announced by the interim finance minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, in his revised budget last Friday.

But the chief manager of the Westpac Bank in Fiji, David Evans, says there is sufficient regulation by the Reserve Bank in addition to internal complaints sections in all banks.

The general manager of the ANZ Bank in Fiji, Robert Bell, says the Reserve Bank is world class and continues to make tough decisions in Fiji's interests.

Mr Bell says ANZ already has a full time customer advocate to hear disputes and settle any arrangements without referring it further up in the management.

The general secretary of the Association of Commercial Banks, Rasik Jogia, says a Banking Ombudsman would be an unnecessary cost.

But the Consumer Council of Fiji says a Banking Ombudsman is long overdue because bank customers are frustrated with their exorbitant fees and charges.