Savings banks ignore over 80 percent of regulator rulings in favor of customers

Bank of Spain sided 2,838 times with complainant in 2012, but only 519 cases were then resolved

Despite escalating public dissatisfaction with Spain’s banks over the bailout, abusive mortgage clauses, evictions and mismanagement, individual account holders are not finding their lenders in conciliatory mood.

Last year 43,647 cases were lodged with the Bank of Spain’s complaints department, a 20.7 percent rise over 2011 and an historic high, according to the department’s annual report.

But the most eye-catching aspect of the figures is the number of concessions the banks collectively made to customers. The Bank of Spain issued 2,838 rulings in favor of the complainant in 2012, of which only 519 were subsequently resolved. In 82 percent of cases the Bank of Spain’s decision was ignored by the lenders, conscious of their might against the little man.

“The number of rectifications on the part of the banks does not even reach a fifth of the total, which is clearly unsatisfactory,” noted the central bank. “We ask the entities to make an effort to take into account the reports of the complaints department even if these, in line with current regulations, are not binding.”

The situation has caused the regulator to also lose patience with the banks. “The department is going to closely monitor this situation, especially in those cases where indications of serious or reiterated breaches of transparency and customer protection are evident. These instances will be handed to the inspectorate,” the report stated.

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