The Ombudsman checks the requirements and relevant documents
As a neutral mediator, the Ombudsman must know the positions of both parties. He brings in his expertise with the necessary distance and analyses the different viewpoints. As a matter of principle, the Banking Ombudsman only becomes active after the client himself has submitted his complaint in writing to the Management or Complaints Management Office of the financial business and has given the latter the opportunity to comment on his demands and arguments or to settle the matter directly. If no agreement can be reached in this way, the client may submit his file to the Ombudsman for examination.
The Ombudsman forms an independent opinion
In order to propose a solution, the Banking Ombudsman can do whatever he deems necessary to ensure a free and independent opinion. The Ombudsman often asks for an additional statement from the financial business concerned in order to gain as comprehensive a picture as possible. The Banking Ombudsman, like the financial business, is bound to confidentiality. Therefore, he always requires the authorization of the client to contact the financial business. In order to form an opinion, the Ombudsman can also request further information and documents from the client.
The Ombudsman decides on the action
If, after having looked into the documents and information available to him, the Banking Ombudsman comes to the conclusion that there are no indications of a wrongdoing on the part of the financial business, or if a mediation appears to have no chance of success, he informs the client, usually with a written explanation.
If the analysis shows that there are indications of a wrongdoing on the part of the financial business which has caused damage or disadvantage to the client and if a mediation does not appear to be hopeless from the beginning, the Ombudsman contacts the financial business.
If the financial business is willing to settle the dispute, the Ombudsman will forward its offer for an amicable settlement. The client must then decide whether to settle the dispute by accepting the offer.
If, despite the proposal from the Ombudsman, the financial business refuses to offer the client a solution, the case is closed without result. A copy of the respective notice to the client is sent to the financial business. The client must then decide whether to take legal action.
If the indications of a wrongdoing on the part of the financial business cannot be substantiated in the course of the intervention with the financial business, or if they are disproved, the Ombudsman informs the client and closes the procedure with a notice of which a copy is sent to the financial business.
In cases where crucial facts of a dispute are presented differently by the client and the financial business, the matter can usually not be resolved in the Ombudsman procedure, especially if both parties insist on their respective position and if no clear evidence is submitted. The Ombudsman must in such cases terminate the mediation without result and issues a final notice to the client with copy to the financial business. The client is free to further submit the matter to the competent court.
The procedure in brief
Answers to various questions about the procedure can also be found at Frequently asked questions.