There has been negligible growth in the number of complaints lodged with the Financial Ombudsman Service Australia (FOSA), according to its annual report.
The total number of disputes referred to FOSA rose to 31,895 – an increase of just 1 per cent, considerably less than the population growth rate of 1.8 per cent.
The was no appreciable change in credit disputes, though general insurance disputes rose 1 per cent, and investment disputes were up 13 per cent.
Despite a difficult jobs market, financial difficulty disputes actually fell 12 per cent.
Chief Ombudsman Shane Tregillis said that fall showed “ongoing improvements that financial services providers are making to managing disputes when people are in financial difficulty, and the consistently low interest rates during the reporting period which had reduced repayment pressures for many borrowers”.
Tregillis said FOSA has streamlined its dispute resolution process, resulting in complaints being dealt with more quickly – 61 per cent within 60 days and three quarters within 90 days.
FOSA provides an independent service for resolving disputes between consumers and its 14,107 members who are financial services providers.