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Firm upsets ombudsman

The Insurance and Savings Ombudsman (ISO) has hit out at one financial services firm, accusing it of undermining the credibility of its scheme in order to avoid a negative finding.

Wednesday, September 26th 2001, 3:02AM
When the firm became aware that ombudsman Karen Stevens was going to issue a decision against it, it issued arbitration proceedings.

That had the effect of stopping the ombudsman from issuing a formal decision.

The firm also refused to treat the arbitration as a test case, which would have given the ombudsman power to decide who should bear the legal costs of the arbitration.

Although the firm broke none of the ISO scheme’s rules and did nothing illegal, Stevens believes its actions went against the spirit of the scheme.

“It undermines the integrity of the scheme and we are very concerned about that,” Stevens says.

The ISO is a voluntary industry body set up to resolve disputes between financial services firms and their customers. Complaints are confidential, meaning the company has not been named.

Stevens says there had been several complaints about the firm over a few months.

“When a pattern starts to emerge we treat it with a certain degree of seriousness because it may indicate a systemic problem,” she says.

She says these developments have highlighted a loophole in the scheme's terms of reference.

Because of the procedure used by the ISO when investigating complaints, the firm became aware of what the decision would be, Stevens says.

“The participant was then able to take the complaint away from the office by providing the complainants with notices of arbitration.”

Stevens also criticised the firm’s refusal to treat the arbitration as a test case.

The ISO scheme was free to consumers. Forcing them into arbitration meant they had to pay and was fundamentally wrong, she says.

Stevens says she understood the dispute between the firm and its customers had now been settled.

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Full Rates Table | Compare Rates

Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AMP Home Loans 6.49 5.69 6.29 6.40
AMP Home Loans $200k+ 6.39 5.59 5.99 6.30
AMP Home Loans LVR <80% - - 5.99 -
ANZ 5.99 5.85 6.49 6.85
ANZ LVR > 80 5.99 6.35 6.99 7.35
ANZ Special - - 5.95 -
ASB Bank 6.00 5.85 6.49 6.85
ASB Bank Special - - - -
BankDirect 6.00 5.85 6.49 6.85
BankDirect Special - - - -
BNZ - Classic - - 5.95 -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
BNZ - GlobalPlus 6.19 5.85 6.29 6.29
BNZ - Mortgage One 6.60 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 6.19 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 6.19 5.85 6.29 6.29
BNZ - TotalMoney 5.99 - - -
Credit Union Auckland 6.20 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.85 5.90 6.50 -
Credit Union North 6.45 - - -
Credit Union South 5.75 - - -
eMortgage 6.04 6.15 6.69 7.19
Fidelity Life 5.70 5.40 6.00 -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Finance Direct 6.10 6.45 6.69 7.10
First Credit Union 6.45 - - -
General Finance 5.95 6.25 6.50 7.10
HBS Bank 5.90 5.60 5.99 6.35
HBS LVR > 80% - - - -
Heartland 5.95 6.25 6.50 7.10
Heretaunga Building Society 5.75 5.50 6.30 -
Housing NZ Corp 5.75 5.50 6.30 6.40
HSBC Premier 6.24 5.59 6.29 6.55
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - 5.79 -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Kiwibank 5.90 ▲5.85 ▲6.19 ▲6.60
Kiwibank - Capped 5.65 6.50 - -
Kiwibank - Offset 5.60 - - -
Kiwibank LVR > 80% - - 6.29 6.40
Liberty 5.64 - - -
Napier Building Society 5.80 6.00 6.70 -
Nelson Building Society 6.45 5.95 6.60 -
NZ Home Loans 6.10 5.69 6.29 6.60
Perpetual Trust 7.70 - - -
RESIMAC - lo doc 7.34 7.14 7.49 8.05
RESIMAC LVR < 80% 5.84 5.64 5.99 6.55
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
RESIMAC LVR < 85% 6.84 6.64 6.99 7.55
RESIMAC LVR < 90% 7.84 7.64 7.99 8.55
SBS Bank 5.90 5.60 5.99 6.35
SBS LVR < 80% - - - -
Silver Fern 5.95 6.10 6.55 7.05
Southern Cross 5.95 6.25 6.50 7.10
Sovereign 6.10 5.85 6.49 6.85
Sovereign Special - - - -
The Co-operative Bank 5.95 5.65 5.99 6.35
TSB Bank 6.04 5.40 5.99 6.40
Wairarapa Building Society 6.20 5.75 5.95 -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Westpac 5.74 5.85 5.95 6.85
Westpac - Capped rates - 6.19 6.69 -
Westpac - Offset 5.74 - - -
Median 6.00 5.85 6.29 6.85

Last updated: 22 April 2014 9:04am

News Quiz

The Health Funds Association says recent research from Roy Morgan has "false findings". An example is at December 2013, HFA says the number with health insurance cover stood at 1,336,000, what was the Roy Morgan figure?

816,000

516,000

1,006,000

1,666,000

1,916,000

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