Banks with over 10 branches to have ombudsman: RBI

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Mumbai : The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday asked all scheduled commercial banks with more than 10 branches to appoint an Internal Ombudsman (IO). It, however, excluded Regional Rural Banks (RRB) from the requirement.

"The IO shall examine customer complaints which are in the nature of deficiency in service on the part of the bank, that are partly or wholly rejected by the bank," the RBI said in a release introducing the Internal Ombudsman Scheme, 2018.

The IO mechanism was set up with a view to strengthening the internal grievance redress system of banks and to ensure that the complaints of the customers are redressed at the level of the bank itself, the apex bank said.

With an IO, the redress will be done by an authority placed at the highest level of bank's grievance redressal mechanism. It will minimize the need for the customers to approach other fora for redressal, the RBI said.

As a part of this customer-centric approach, the banking regulator issued revised directions in the form of 'Internal Ombudsman Scheme, 2018' to enhance the independence of the IO and to strengthen the monitoring system.

The IO Scheme will cover appointment, tenure, roles and responsibilities, procedural guidelines and oversight mechanism for the IO, among other things. Its execution will be monitored by the bank's internal audit mechanism apart from regulatory oversight by RBI.

The RBI had, in May 2015, advised all public sector and select private and foreign banks to appoint IOs as an independent authority to review complaints that were partially or wholly rejected by the respective banks.