Major banks only have themselves to blame for the opprobrium being heaped upon them, this time by the Banking Ombudman.
This week, it was reported bank complaints have spiked up 21 per cent to a five-year high in the wake of intense scrutiny on the sector.
There were 3108 complaints in the year to June 30 - up 21 per cent from 2565 in the prior period - the figures from the Banking Ombudsman show.
Total cases which include inquiries rose 21 per cent to 4797, while disputes - the most serious of cases - were up 27 per cent to 183.
It would seem a world away from the view, only a generation or two ago, that the bank manager was a trusted extension of the family, working to help access the best financial advice and conditions.
The actual level of consternation at the banking sector is likely to be much higher.
Before concerns can be referred to the Banking Ombudsman, cases must first be referred to the bank in question and the bank permitted time to address the concern. Many more than the 3000 complaints which made it to the Ombudsman would have likely been headed off with some concession or another from the bank, or complainants simply giving up at the first hurdle.
Even without the true scale of the problem being known, it's clear banks have to accept where the fault lies in the vast majority of cases.
Banks have come under closer scrutiny this year in the wake of the Australian Royal Commission into banking and reviews by New Zealand regulators. This may have emboldened more to complain when they may have otherwise given their bank the benefit of the doubt. Indeed, more complaints may have been motivated by awareness campaigns about the channels available to raise concerns conducted by the Ombudsman and the banks themselves.
Whichever the motivators, there is now an air of distrust, of suspicion, as borne out in the related theme among the high level of current complaints involving difficulties older and disabled consumers can experience as they navigate their banking.
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It would seem a world away from the view, only a generation or two ago, that the bank manager was a trusted extension of the family, working to help customers access the best financial advice and conditions to make better lives. Whether that view reflected reality or was a rose-tinted portrayal projected by the banks themselves, it is well and truly dispelled.
Banking Ombudsman Nicola Sladden said all banks needed to pick up their game in the way they handled complaints. "I think the message coming out of the regulatory review is all banks need to continue to invest in the ways they identify and deal with customer complaints."
The good news for customers is, a clearer picture of the number and types of complaints about banking should be available by March next year. By then, a dashboard hosting by The Banking Ombudsman should bring together complaints data from ombudsman cases and the banks.
Those with misgivings over how straight their banks are being with them will be watching, with added interest. It can only be hoped banks will also be watching, even with rose-tinted spectacles, and learning how to do better.