Complaint handling

Handling complaints promptly and attentively is a valuable source of information and a privileged listening channel which helps us improve the level of our service, our organisational processes and our commercial offer. In 2009 the complaints received from the various Group’s banks in Italy and abroad totalled 106,475, marking a drop of some 3% against 2008. The organisational consolidation for handling most of the complaints of the Group’s banks in Italy has allowed us to deal effectively with new commitments arising from recent regulatory innovations, including the launch of the Arbitro Bancario Finanziario (ABF), and the coming into effect of the new Legislation on transparency, which require intermediaries to respond to customers’ complaints (excluding those related to investment) within 30 days.

Complaints by type

  2009 2008 2007 2009 2008 2007
Investment services complaints 8,911 10,153 8,161 794 543 219
securities in default 2,044 2,454 141 5
structured securities 28 301 62 51
Cheques and collection orders 2,154 1,584 56 14
Bank transfers, Salaries and Pensions 2,486 2,118 4,676 3,110
Cards 3,794 38,450 16,788 12,440 4,964 3,008
Credits 2,833 2,095 2,235 8,781 5,389 4,882
Current accounts and term deposits 8,473 7,762 11,262 8,086 6,604 2,137
Mortgages and special loans 3,940 2,335 2,963 2,766
Insurance products 4,424 4,282 3,704 362 148
Remote banking 1,113 878 11,244 3,246
Other 2,574 4,050 8,391 16,371 9,735 10,988
TOTAL 40,702 73,707 64,706 65,773 36,519 24,666

Complaints by type

In Italy, the overall number of complaints regarding investment services registered a noticeable decline, which can be attributed to the significant reduction in the problems related to structured investments and to a decline of complaints from investors in securities issued by Lehman Brothers Group which, compared to 2008, dropped by about 40%.The line pursued was that of investigating such complaints case-by-case, based on specific guidelines drawn up in 2008.
As for complaints regarding current accounts, loans, customer information and requests for documentation, a particular incidence of complaints related to investments in funds and, more broadly, to credit lines was noted which can also be attributed to the recent introduction of predictions on debt portability and renegotiation and cancellation of mortgage guarantees which, in many cases, were not immediately understood by customers and which required progressive adjustments in procedures both of the intermediaries and the administrations involved.
Complaints and requests for clarification were similarly received following the introduction of the new fees regime by the Group1,which, specifically, did away with the so-called “overdraft charge”.
Starting from July 2009, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group adapted the management of the reversal of customer credit and debit card transactions to the new arrangements as detailed under the “PattiChiari” initiative, anticipating the content of the European Payment Services Directive (PSD) legislation. Consequently, a ‘subject to collection’ compensation - in relatively short times - of the amounts being disputed by customers is applied, pending the outcome of further verifications, which must in any event be within 120 days, after which the chargeback made becomes final. During 2009, 24,753 complaints regarding operations carried out with credit and debit cards were managed: of these 20,665 were accepted for a total outlay of over 16 million euro.
During the year, the banking Ombudsman Giurì received 865 customer complaints, whereas 38 cases were presented to the ABF (Arbitro Bancario Finanziario).
645 complaints pertained to updates and responses from supervisory authorities at the Bank of Italy, 17 from Consob and 15 from the Italian Competition Authority. On the whole, the Group received 697 complaints in 2009 regarding privacy issues, while those for anatocism numbered 523. In 2009, 64 complaints concerning possible breaches of the provisions of the Code of Ethics by the Bank were received.

As regards the Group’s International Subsidiary Banks, during 2009 listening to the complaints and suggestions of customers continued in order to achieve gradual alignment of the Group's International Subsidiary Banks with homogeneous customer relations standards, while recognising the specific qualities of each country’s market and legislation. The comparison of historical data reveals that theInternational Subsidiary Banks have developed an increased ability to manage and, above all, to monitor and keep track of customer complaints and dissatisfaction.

The following lines of action were pursued in 2009:

  • the activation of specific organisational units dedicated to handling complaints in the nine banks already taking part in the “Listening 100%” program was completed (Bank of Alexandria, Banca Intesa Beograd, CIB Bank, the Russian Banca Intesa, Banka Koper, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, Intesa Sanpaolo Banka Bosna i Hercegovina, Privredna Banka Zagreb, VUB Banka). Specifically, the progressive development of processes and rules of action regarding complaints aimed at customer satisfaction was promoted. These organisational units not only ensure the efficient management and resolution of customer complaints, but also that information arising from complaints will be used to ensure the correction of defects in service and process improvement;
  • a common ‘Listening’ language (complaints and suggestions) was finalised and shared with the main banks, the aim being to facilitate the identification and dissemination of operational best practices of the different banks, as well as to standardise the issuing of a quarterly report. From the data gathered on the reasons behind the complaints, cards were found to be the main cause of grievances and reports from customers which often overlap and are confused with operational malfunctions at ATMs and POS. In this regard, the complaints Management Units most involved are monitoring activities to gain a better understanding of the issue which will be concluded in 2010 - also with a view to be able to better pinpoint any responsibilities that can in fact be attributable to the banks. Furthermore, in 2010 the percentage of complaints that were settled in 48 hours is to be considered a key area of monitoring and improvement.

1 Consequent to the application of law decree n. 185 of 29/11/2008, which became law n. 2 on 28/1/2009.

Customer Service

Another important channel of communication and listening is our customer service, which answers customer questions via the Internet, e-mail and telephone. It is often the first contact with the Bank, both for requesting product and services information, for resolving issues that are not so serious as to become complaints and to gather suggestions and complaints on issues of general interest. More than 3.8 million calls were handled through the automatic answering service and nearly 1.6 million by operators, while around 116,000 customer emails were handled.