Ombudsman for Banking Services

As one of South Africa's leading financial services providers, we aim to change the face of banking. That's why we're totally committed to the Code of Banking Practice, and accept all legally binding judiciary rules as outlined by the Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS), previously - Bank Adjudicator. Your experience with Absa is important to us, and in striving towards service excellence, we need your help.

Please assist us by rating our service. After all, it's about listening, learning and growing together. We have defined our dispute resolution process in order to deal with all complaints.


  • Structure of the OBS

    Structure of the OBS

    Banks agreed to be bound by the jurisdiction of the OBS on a voluntary basis as a prerequisite for membership of the Banking Association. The OBS Office is an independent and impartial Section 21 company (not for gain). The OBS Office reports to the OBS Board - not to the banks.

  • Independence of the OBS

    Independence of the OBS

    The Ombudsman acts independently and objectively in resolving disputes and is not influenced by anybody in making decisions.

  • Power of the OBS

    Power of the OBS

    The OBS resolves disputes by using the following criteria:

    • The law
    • Applicable industry codes or guidelines
    • Good banking practice
    • Banking practice in other jurisdictions
    • Fairness in all the circumstances
  • Procedure to resolve complaints

    Procedure to resolve complaints

    The OBS may make use of the following to resolve a complaint:

    • Assessment of the merits of the case
    • Mediation between the parties
    • A written recommendation describing how the matter should be resolved and the reasons for the recommendation
    • The OBS may personally make a binding written determination, based on the law or the Code in a case where a recommendation has not been accepted by all the parties concerned
  • Jurisdiction of the OBS

    Jurisdiction of the OBS

    The OBS can handle a complaint if:

    • The complainant is a customer of the bank
    • The complainant - if a small business, partnership, association, trust or close corporation - does not have a turnover exceeding R10 million per annum
    • The claim is for R2 million or less
    • The complainant has, without success, raised the complaint with the bank
    • The complainant has obtained (or tried to obtain) a complaint reference number from the bank
    • The complaint concerns the bank's own products or services, or advice given by the bank's own staff regarding its own (or another institution's) products
    • There has been misadministration on the part of the bank leading to some significant loss, distress or inconvenience
  • The OBS cannot handle a complaint if...

    The OBS cannot handle a complaint if:

    • The claim is (or has been) subject to legal action
    • The case would be more appropriately handled by a court (e.g. evenly balanced disputes of fact, third party involvement and complex issues)
    • The bank has exercised its commercial judgement (e.g. called in a loan or increased administration fees)
    • The cause of the complaint arose over three years ago
    • The claim has prescribed (i.e. is older than the legal time limit)
    • The complaint is pursued in a frivolous, vexatious, offensive, threatening or abusive manner