New data released today by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has shown that complaints about home loans have increased by 20 per cent in the last six months of 2019.
The data, which has been made freely available to the public through AFCA’s Datacube shows that between July and December last year, the financial services ombudsman received 2,201 complaints about home loans, that’s 367 per month, on average.
AFCA Chief Operating Officer Justin Untersteiner said that it was disappointing to see the increase but making the data available to the public was an important step in increasing transparency.
“Every six months, AFCA releases data which allows Australians to see how many complaints their insurer, bank, financial adviser, superannuation fund or other financial firm has received and how they have responded to those complaints,” Mr Untersteiner said.
“Rebuilding trust in the Australian financial services will be a long journey and one that requires effort across the entire sector.
“Transparency is key in this transformation and we have made significant changes in the way we report our data and decisions to make them more accessible to the public.
“There has been a dramatic increase in complaints about home loans. This increase has been driven by financial firms failing to respond to requests for assistance, the conversion of loans from interest only to principal and interest and issues with responsible lending.
“The data also shows that we are getting very few complaints about financial advice, just 30 per month, and complaints against debt buyers or collectors rose by just five per cent.
“Our hope by releasing this data is that we see improvements and the industry takes action to reduce the number of complaints that end up at AFCA.”
Key stats from the AFCA Datacube
Over the six months reported:
- The most complained about product overall is credit cards with 2,748 complaints
- The most complained about insurance product was home building insurance with 1,445 complaints
- The most complained about superannuation issue was account administration with 1,129 complaints
- The most complained about investment and advice product was derivatives, hedging and securities with 794 complaints
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About AFCA Datacube
- In November 2019, AFCA launched a new online tool which allows Australians to see how their insurer, bank, financial adviser, superannuation fund or other financial firm has responded to consumer complaints brought to AFCA.
- The AFCA Datcube includes information about the number of complaints received, how long it takes each member firm to resolve complaints and the number of times financial firms did not respond to a complaint. It also allows people to compare financial firms side-by-side.
- The AFCA Datacube has reporting data for financial firms with more than four complaints in the period. The Datacube includes data for the period of 1 November 2018 to 31 December 2019.
- You can view the Datacube at data.afca.org.au
- The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government ombudsman service providing free, fair and independent help with financial disputes.
- AFCA is a one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses who have a dispute with their financial firm, over things such as banking, credit, insurance, advice, investments or superannuation.
- Where an agreement cannot be reached between parties, AFCA can issue decisions that are binding on financial firms.