Intermediaries who adhere to the ABF

Who must adhere to the ADR system

Pursuant to the rules governing the Financial and Banking Ombudsman, all Italian and foreign intermediaries who are entered in the registers and lists kept by the Bank of Italy must adhere to the system and may receive complaints.

In particular, the following intermediaries must adhere:

  • banks
  • financial intermediaries entered in the register pursuant to Article 106 of the Consolidated Law on Banking (known as the 'Albo Unico')
  • loan guarantee consortia, pursuant to Article 112(1) of the Consolidated Law on Banking,
  • payment institutions
  • electronic money institutions
  • Poste Italiane SpA as regards its BancoPosta activity.

Foreign banks and intermediaries that operate in Italy under the freedom to provide services are not required to adhere to the ABF, provided that they adhere to, or are subject to, a foreign out-of-court settlement system which is part of Fin-Net. In this case, the client may still contact the ABF which, in turn, will put them in contact with the equivalent ADR of the country in which the intermediary operates.

Intermediaries operating in Italy under the freedom to provide services which choose not to adhere to the ABF are required to communicate to the Bank of Italy the foreign out-of-court settlement system to which they adhere or are subject in their home country.

Communications concerning adhesion

Intermediaries - using the form available in this section - must formally communicate their adhesion to the ABF to the Bank of Italy; they must provide basic identification data and the information necessary for the ADR system to function.

The form must also be used each time the information which was previously provided is subject to a change.

Handling disputes and ABF guidelines

Banks and financial intermediaries must ensure, by adopting specific internal procedures, that their claims departments are aware of the guidelines established by the ABF, are constantly updated on them, and analyse disputes on the basis of such guidelines. In particular, the claims departments must ascertain whether the issue raised by the client is similar to others already decided upon by the ABF Panels, and consider the solutions adopted in such cases.

Guides and complaint forms

Intermediaries must make the practical guides on the ABF (the 'Guide on how to use the Web Portal' and 'A simple guide to the ABF') and the complaint form available to clients, in compliance with the model provided on this website (available only in Italian). The 'Guide on how to use the Web Portal' and 'A simple guide to the ABF' are available in digital and typographical versions: the information required by transparency regulations must be entered in the personalized area.

What intermediaries have to do when the ABF upholds complaints

If the complaint is upheld, wholly or partly, the intermediary must:

  • reimburse the complainant for the €20 fee paid for filing the complaint;
  • pay €200 to the Bank of Italy, as a contribution to the costs of the procedure by means of a credit transfer to the branch of the Bank of Italy where the Panel that decided the complaint meets.

The bank account details will be provided each time by the competent technical secretariat in the letter which also communicates the decision.

The decisions of the Ombudsman are not legally binding; if an intermediary refuses to comply with a decision, its non-compliance is published on the ABF's website.