Banking Ombudsman

Learn how the Banking Ombudsman can resolve your complaints related to any bank and NBFC.
Banking Ombudsman
3 min

The Banking Ombudsman is a system created by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to address the complaints and grievances of bank customers. The RBI appoints a senior official, known as the Ombudsman, who investigates these issues and works to find fair resolutions for the public.

The Ombudsman handle customer complaints regarding issues with banking services. This system covers a wide range of banks, including public, private, rural, cooperative institutions and NBFCs.

Initially established in 1995, the Banking Ombudsman Scheme underwent significant revisions in 2006. These updates expanded its scope to include complaints related to ATM cards (debit and credit cards), and issues like bank deducting service charge without prior notice, unfair banking practices, and non-compliance by bank representatives with promises made during account opening. To further reflect changing banking practices, the scheme was amended in February 2009.

How effective is the Banking Ombudsman?

As of 2015, this system handles a vast array of complaints related to banking services. In the year 2009-2010, the team successfully addressed an impressive 94% of the 79,266 complaints received. Currently, there are 15 Banking Ombudsmen across India. Customers file complaints with the Ombudsman whose jurisdiction covers the location of their bank branch. For example, a Bangalore-based customer would contact the Bangalore Ombudsman. If either the bank or the customer finds the Ombudsman's decision unsatisfactory, they have 30 days to appeal to the Appellate Authority, a Deputy Governor of the RBI.

How to file a complaint with the Banking Ombudsman

There are two ways to file your complaint:

1. Online:

  • Visit the Banking Ombudsman website and access the online complaint form.
  • Complete the form with all necessary details.
  • Upload any supporting documentation (e.g., bank rejection letter, bank's reply) in PDF or TXT format.

2. Offline:

Download the complaint form from the Banking Ombudsman website.

Provide the following information:

  • Your name, address, and contact details.
  • The name and address of the bank you have a complaint against.
  • Details of your complaint, including any supporting documents (like letters or account statements).
  • The compensation or resolution you are seeking.

Send it to the Banking Ombudsmen within your jurisdiction.

Types of complaints the banking ombudsman can address

Here are some common reasons you might file a complaint:

Delays: unreasonable delays in processing loans, opening accounts, or providing other banking services.

Fees and interest:

  • Unexpected charges or fees without proper notification.
  • Interest rate changes on loans that are unfair or unclear.

Fraud and errors:

  • Lost or stolen credit cards resulting in fraudulent transactions.
  • Inaccurate credit reports (CIBIL score) due to bank errors.
  • Unauthorised online banking activity.

Account issues:

  • Account closure without proper notice or explanation.

Customer service:

  • Bank staff misrepresenting insurance policies or linking them to loan approvals.
  • Negligence in basic banking duties.
  • Unjustified loan rejections.
  • Harassment or rude behavior from bank representatives.

Financial institutions covered under the banking ombudsman scheme

A. Banks covered under RB-IOS, 2021:

  • Public sector banks
  • Private sector banks
  • Foreign banks
  • Local area banks
  • Small finance banks
  • Payment banks
  • Regional rural banks
  • Scheduled primary (urban) co-operative banks
  • Non-scheduled primary (urban) co-operative banks with a deposit size of Rs. 50 crore and above

B. Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs):

  • NBFCs with asset size of Rs. 100 crore and above (excluding housing finance companies

Can my complaint be rejected by the ombudsman?

Yes, your complaint might be rejected by the ombudsman under the following circumstances:

  • You did not contact the bank: You must attempt to resolve the issue directly with your bank before filing with the ombudsman.
  • Time limit expired: You generally have one year from the date the bank responds (or fails to respond) to your complaint to file with the ombudsman.
  • Other legal action: The ombudsman might not handle your complaint if it is already being addressed by a court or another dispute resolution body.
  • Frivolous complaints: Complaints that are frivolous or intended to cause trouble may be rejected.
  • Previously settled: The ombudsman will not re-open a case with the same subject matter that has already been resolved through their office.


Banking Ombudsman is a free and impartial scheme which helps individuals to seek resolution when financial institution fails to address their concerns fairly. While not every complaint will be accepted, understanding the Ombudsman's role and the types of issues they handle is vital for anyone seeking to protect their financial rights.


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