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Complaint settlement

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Who receives the complaints from National Bank clients?

Une équipe indépendante et impartiale

An independent and impartial team

The Office of the National Bank Ombudsman for Clients offers a fair, impartial and objective investigation of complaints made by clients that remain unresolved. When the Office reviews a complaint about National Bank products and services, it takes into account:

  • Laws
  • Regulations
  • Sound industry practices

The purpose of the Office is to promote the settlement of disputes between National Bank and its clients.

The Ombudsman for Clients and her team

The Ombudsman for Clients is a Bank employee who has full leeway to carry out the Office’s mission and achieve its mandate. She is responsible for impartially and independently handling complaints from clients and guaranteeing they are treated in a fair and just way.

She may also make recommendations to National Bank to improve its services and better meet your needs.

  • Geneviève Trottier, Ombudsman for Clients

Ms. Trottier became the National Bank Ombudsman for Clients in June 2017, after three years as Deputy Ombudsman. She joined the Bank in 1994 and has held various marketing functions related to the development of banking and investment services since then. For nearly a decade, Ms. Trottier was also responsible for National Bank's social involvement in Canadian communities. Under her leadership, the Bank launched several programs and entered into major strategic partnerships, such as the Volunteer Program for employees and the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank.

Ms. Trottier holds a certificate from the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman in collaboration with York University.

The Ombudsman for Clients works with a team of skilled advisors with extensive knowledge of the Bank and the financial services industry.

Ombudsman – Ethic

The Ombudsman Ethic receives, processes, and archives complaints and concerns regarding accounting, internal accounting controls, or auditing matters at National Bank.

Contact the Ombudsman – Ethic

A few examples of disputes

Here are a few examples of unpleasant situations, inspired by real cases, that may occur as part of a business relationship with a financial institution, and some tips to prevent them from occurring.

Correction of a credit report

Case

Mr. D. lost his job and was having financial troubles. He missed a few payments on his personal loan held at the Bank. Mr. D. avoided having his loan sent to recovery by discussing the matter with the Bank's collection department and coming to a payment agreement. Though he was late with a few payments, the loan was eventually repaid in full. Later on, Mr. D. had to renew his mortgage loan at another financial institution. His application was declined because of the unfavourable note in his credit report. Mr. D. was upset and asked the Bank to correct his credit report. His request was declined.
 

Investigation

The investigation revealed that any payment overdue by more than 30 days for a loan from a financial institution automatically generates a note in the individual's credit report. This is the case for payments overdue by 60 days and by 90 days. After this period, the Bank has the right to transfer the loan to recovery. In such cases, an R9 rating (the most severe rating to appear in a person's credit report) is entered in the report and remains on file for seven years. The investigation revealed that Mr. D. was more than 150 days late in paying his loan. Thanks to the payment agreement with the Bank, he was able to avoid having an R9 rating entered in his credit report. The Bank did not make a mistake in this situation. It was not required to ask for a correction to Mr. D.'s credit report, and the notes appearing in it were legitimate.

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Quick tip

Except for a few exceptions (e.g., when you apply for financing), the Bank does not have the right to consult your credit information. It therefore cannot ask for a correction to be made to a note in your credit report, unless it can be shown that it is due to an error the Bank has made.

Deposit of a fraudulent cheque

Case

Ms. T. was selling a couch online on Kijiji and was contacted by a potential buyer who lived in another province. The buyer, who was in fact a fraudster, claimed to be the owner of a transport company and asked her to send the couch through his company. Ms. T. agreed to send it to him once she had received a cheque for the price of the couch and the delivery fee. Ms. T. went to a Bank branch to deposit the cheque, then carried out an Interac e-Transfer in the amount of $970 to the bogus company. Shortly thereafter, an employee from the Bank's security department contacted her to confirm some of the details of the transfer; the transfer was finally authorized, while the cheque was returned to National Bank as a "fraudulent cheque."
 

Investigation

The Ombudsman determined that Ms. T. took the time to share her concerns about the buyer's identity with the security department employee. However, the employee neglected to inform Ms. T. that the payee of the account to whom she wanted to send the funds did not have the same name as the alleged buyer. Finally, the transfer was identified as potentially fraudulent by Interac, but the Bank employee nonetheless approved it after his conversation with Ms. T. The Ombudsman recommended that the Bank refund the amount corresponding to the transfer. However, she concluded that Ms. T. was responsible for the cheque she deposited.

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Quick tip

Fraud is common on advertising websites. Beware of buyers who require that goods be sent before concluding a transaction, and make sure that you know the source of the funds you deposit.

Mortgage loan prepayment

Case

Ms. L. contracted a mortgage loan at a posted interest rate of 5.24%, to which a discount of 2.20% was applied. The term of the loan was 60 months. Less than three years later, after receiving an offer to purchase her property, Ms. L. advised the Bank that she wanted to prepay her mortgage loan.

She was then informed that the penalty she had to pay was calculated based on the posted rate of the mortgage loan when it was signed (5.24%) rather than the interest rate granted (3.04%), which resulted in a penalty of $8,337.58. Believing this calculation method to be unjustified, Ms. L. asked the Bank to grant her a refund corresponding to the difference between the penalty amount charged based on the posted interest rate (5.24%) and the amount applicable if the calculation had been based on the interest rate granted (3.04%).
 

Investigation

The calculation method used by the Bank was revealed to be compliant with the agreement signed by Ms. L. when she contracted the loan. The Ombudsman also concluded that Ms. L. had received all the information she needed to know the amount of the prepayment charge should she sell her property before the end of the mortgage term.

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Quick tip

Make sure that you read all clauses carefully when you take out a mortgage  and understand the information in your annual mortgage statement.

Hold on cheque deposits

Background

Mr. L. was in charge of collection for a Chinese company. After having deposited some cheques for large amounts, he transferred these amounts to an account at another financial institution. Some time later, the Bank notified Mr. L. that the deposited cheques had bounced. After having been alerted to this situation, Mr. L. asked the Bank to recall the funds. Having exceeded the prescribed timeframe, one of the three transfers could not be recalled and resulted in an overdraft of a few thousand dollars. Mr. L. was upset with the Bank for failing to ensure the validity of the cheques and refused to be held responsible. Consequently, he asked to be compensated for the amount of the overdraft generated in his account.
 

Investigation

In cases where a hold is placed on a deposit, the maximum period cannot exceed seven business days, though it can take longer to clear a cheque, particularly when it is issued by a bank abroad. In accordance with the provisions of the Agreement for Mr. L.'s transaction account, he was responsible for the cheques he deposited. We also determined that Mr. L. had been reminded by several employees at the branch about his responsibility when sending funds to other accounts. The Bank was therefore not required to refund the overdraft generated in his account.

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Quick tip

The Bank is not required to place a hold on an item deposited into an account. You alone are responsible for the items you deposit into your account.

Refund for a credit card transaction carried out online

Case

Mr. G. reserved a hotel room online and made a payment with his Mastercard credit card on the hotel booking company's website. He completed the transaction but did not receive any confirmation. He then decided to make a reservation at another hotel. When he received his credit card statement, Mr. G. realized that he was charged for the first transaction without ever staying at the hotel in question. He contested the $476.27 transaction, which Mastercard determined resulted from the client making a mistake when he entered his email address on the website. After determining that the merchant had met their obligations, Mastercard had no recourse in this matter and refused to refund Mr. G.
 

Investigation

The Ombudsman determined that Mr. G. made a second reservation without first checking whether the first one had gone through. The credit card agreement specifies that Mastercard cannot be held responsible further to a dispute between a client and a merchant. Moreover, the Ombudsman cannot make a merchant refund a client and cannot act as mediator between these two parties. Finally, the Ombudsman's mandate only covers the products and services provided by the Bank.

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Quick tip

You are responsible for online transactions with your credit card when you provide payment information that allows a merchant to charge you. Make sure that you read the merchant's terms and conditions before finalizing your transaction.

A straightforward dispute resolution process

étape 1

Contact customer service

If you are dissatisfied with the service you have received, the first step is to contact the relevant customer service department:

Very often, your request can be resolved quickly and with no hassle.

If you are still dissatisfied, proceed to step 2.

étape 2

Contact the Office of the Ombudsman for Clients

In the event that a complaint has not been settled to your satisfaction, you can submit a formal complaint to the Office of the National Bank Ombudsman for Clients. We will get back to you within two business days.
 

Complete the form
 

If you are dissatisfied with the conclusion rendered by the Office of the Ombudsman for Clients, proceed to step 3.

étape 3

Submit your complaint to an external organization

If you are still not satisfied, you can submit your file to an external organization.

If your complaint is about a banking product or service, contact the ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office.

If your complaint is about National Bank Investments, National Bank Trust, National Bank Direct Brokerage or National Bank Financial, contact the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments*.

If your complaint is about General Insurance, contact the Autorité des marchés financiers* (Quebec residents).

If your complaint is about Life Insurance or National Bank Insurance Firm, contact the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance*.

 

* Other external organizations may be authorized to intervene. You will be notified if this is the case.

Read the Charter of the Office of the Ombudsman for Clients

Before filing your complaint, make sure that you have read the Charter of the Office of the National Bank Ombudsman for Clients. It contains all the information you need to understand the mission, mandate, values and commitment of the Office of the Ombudsman for Clients but also its responsibilities as well as yours.

See the information required to submit a complaint

To make it easier to process your complaint, make sure that you provide as much information as possible, including:

  • A description of events
  • Any loss or damage you suffered
  • The chronology of events (dates and times, if possible)
  • The name of the business line and employees you dealt with
  • Your expectations with regard to the situation you experienced
  • Any document relevant to the analysis of your complaint 

Contact us

Telephone: 514-394-8655
Toll-free: 1-888-300-9004
Email: ombudsman.clients@nbc.ca 
Office of the National Bank Ombudsman for Clients
PO box 275
Montreal, Quebec  H2Y 3G7

Explore other online resources

Here are a few links to find out more about the different resources available to you before submitting a formal complaint.

 

Little details that matter

Statistics by year

  Complaints investigated and settled by our team Average number of days taken to settle a complaint Complaints resolved between National Bank and the client
2018 284 75 40%
2017 335 83 47%
2016 390 62 32%

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