Our role is to help resolve disputes between banks and their customers. Before we investigate a dispute, we first try and resolve the issues informally. One of the ways we can do this is through facilitation.
What is facilitation?
Facilitation is a process where a facilitator acts as an intermediary between you and your bank. The facilitator works with you both to ensure there is good communication and to help you reach an agreed solution.
What happens during a facilitation?
Disputes can be facilitated in a number of ways. The process involves the exchange of telephone calls and emails. Occasionally, we may also meet with you either alone or with a representative of the bank.
The facilitator will first listen to both you and your bank to fully understand the issues from both perspectives. The facilitator may also give you information to help you understand what to expect from the process including relevant guidelines or previous decisions.
The facilitator will then work with you and your bank to generate options to resolve your complaint. This may include compensation or an apology, withdrawing your complaint, or negotiating a debt reduction or repayment plan. You also have the option of rejecting any proposed resolution and asking for a recommendation on the matter. You will be given time to consider your options. If you and your bank can come to an agreement, then the dispute is resolved.
Disputes can normally be resolved more quickly by facilitation. Rather than taking several months for a formal investigation and written decision, a facilitated settlement can, in some cases, be resolved in less than a week. Our experience is that complainants are also often more satisfied with the outcome because they have reached an agreed solution.
Facilitation, like all our services, is free and confidential.
Who is the facilitator and what do they do?
The facilitator is one of our investigators. They are not there to make a decision but to help you and your bank reach you own resolution. The facilitator will act as a go-between in discussions about settling the dispute.
The facilitator may provide you with their view on the dispute based on the information they have gathered for you.
What happens if facilitation is unsuccessful?
No one has to reach an agreement during a facilitation. If it becomes clear that that you and your bank are not going to agree to settle matters informally, we will end the facilitation process. Both you and your bank can ask for a formal investigation and decision from the Banking Ombudsman Scheme at any stage.