FNB is South Africa’s most complained about bank again – just a lot more so

Business Insider SA
South Africa's five biggest banks
South Africa's five biggest banks
  • With one – rather large – exception, there were more complaints about the big five banks before the banking ombud in 2020, numbers published on Wednesday show.
  • Complaints about Absa dropped so sharply that it went from the second most complained about to the least complained about.
  • Standard Bank, on the other hand, saw a very big increase in the number of complaints.
  • But not as big as Capitec's increase.
  • Every other major bank also saw an increase in complaints, with the increase for First National Bank big enough to keep it in the lead.
  • For more stories go to

First National Bank was, for the second year running, the bank about which it received the most complaints, numbers published by the Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS) on Wednesday show, only more so than before.

In 2020 it registered a total of 2,197 complaints about FNB, the OBS office said in its annual report, making it the only bank to break the 2,000 mark, thanks to an increase of 29% compared to 2019.

That kept FNB far ahead of Standard Bank, the second most complained about bank with 1,572 cases – despite a surge of 39% in Standard's numbers that took it up from its third place in 2019.

That helped Standard to displace the number two ranker of 2019, Absa, which bucked the trend in startling fashion.

While the complaints for all its peers increased, Absa saw a 36% decline in complaints between 2019 and 2020.

With just 943 complaints registered, Absa has gone from most complained about in 2018 to the least complained about in 2020, among the big five.

The biggest complaint gainer was Capitec, which jumped from 763 complaints in 2019 (which had been a 24% declined compared to 2018) to 1,259 complaints in 2020, a 65% increase.

By comparison, Nedbank stayed virtually steady at 1,217 complaints, a year-on-year increase of 11%.

Here are South Africa's big-5 banks, ranked by the number of complaints about each the banking ombud received in 2020.

1. First National Bank: 2,197 (up 29%)

2. Standard Bank: 1,572 (up 39%)

3. Capitec: 1,259 (up 65%)

4. Nedbank: 1,217 (up 11%)

5. Absa: 943 (down 36%)

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

Receive a daily news update on your cellphone. Or get the best of our site emailed to you

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.

Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo