Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath TD has called on the government to speedily enact a Fianna Fáil bill which gives the Financial Services Ombudsman the power to publish the complaints record of individual financial service providers. Deputy McGrath was commenting as the Ombudsman, Mr. Bill Prasifka, confirmed that his office received 8,135 complaints in 2012, up 12% on 2011 levels.

Deputy McGrath said, “It is the stated position of the Financial Services Ombudsman that the public interest would be best served by publishing the complaints record of individual financial service providers. Last March, a Fianna Fáil bill extending these powers to the Ombudsman passed second stage in the Dáil. However, almost a year later, the government has yet to move the bill to committee stage.

“We need to ensure that the public has access to accurate information about how financial service providers are treating customers and how they behave when their shortcomings are pointed out. It is vital that public confidence in the Irish financial system be restored. It is my view that greater transparency about the performance and behaviour of individual institutions is a basic pre-requisite to achieve this.

“I also believe that publishing the complaints record of institutions would help to weed out remaining bad practices in the financial services industry. I have no doubt that publishing the complaints record of financial service providers will motivate them to clean up their act and improve the service provided to customers.

“In July 2011, the Ombudsman initiated a round of public consultation on the publication of information on the complaints record of financial service providers. The Ombudsman pointed out that the publication of such information would require an amendment to the legislation which established the Ombudsman’s office.

“Fianna Fáil has provided the necessary legislative amendment and I would call on the Minster for Finance to put aside politics-as-usual and implement this sensible proposal without any further delay.” 

Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland [Amendment] Bill 2011