I have, more than once in Parliament, called for the appointment of a banking ombudsman. I was told every time that there was no need for a banking ombudsman.
Press Statement: 2nd July 2003
I see in today's Straits Times that the Executive Chairman of CASE says that complaints against financial institutions are on the rise.
I have, more than once in Parliament, called for the appointment of a banking ombudsman. I was told every time that there was no need for a banking ombudsman because there was the Singapore Banks Association to monitor banks' activities.
I do not know that CASE has any authority.
The refusal by this government to appoint a banking ombudsman is yet another instance, among all the other instances, of this government not willing to do anything for the ordinary man. Banking houses are powerful institutions and the ordinary man needs some protection from them. Why is the government not prepared to give them this protection.
J. B. Jeyaretnam
2nd July 2003
Source and Link
The Straits Times,Forum, 2nd July 2003: Sharp rise in complaints against financial institutions
I REFER to the letter, 'Bank's reply ignores crux of issue' (ST, June 25), by Mr Phillip Ang Keng Hong.
The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) would like to highlight that complaints against financial institutions are on the rise. Case received 221 complaints about financial services in 2001 and 497 last year. This year, we have already received 624 complaints as at June 15.
Case is very concerned about the recent spate of complaints against banks for persuading consumers to switch from fixed deposits to investment instruments without helping these consumers fully understand the differences and the implications of such a switch.
Many of these complainants, who are elderly and illiterate, told Case that they were unaware that they had switched from a fixed-deposit account to an investment instrument.
There is nothing wrong with banks helping consumers to maximise returns on their investment, but Case is unhappy with the unprofessional methods used in handling such transactions, as raised in this Forum recently.
The Association of Banks Singapore should enlighten the public on the measures taken to ensure that such matters would not happen again, not only for the bank in question, but also all other banks in Singapore.
In replying to public queries, banking institutions should also provide full explanations, instead of general replies that avoid the issues at hand.
Meanwhile, Case would like to call on all banks to exercise due diligence in selling such investment instruments to consumers, and not take advantage of uneducated consumers, especially the illiterate elderly.
Case would also like to call on affected consumers, who require advice on their cases, to contact it for assistance.
SEAH SENG CHOON
Consumers Association of Singapore