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ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office (ADRBO) has added its first director to represent consumers.

ADRBO — which, along with the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments, serves as an external dispute resolution service for the banking sector — announced that Greg Basham has been added to its board as the first designated consumer representative director. He will also advocate for “consumer-friendly innovation,” ADBRO said.

According to a release, Basham has previously represented consumers at a national complaint arbitration program and has experience in ombudsman investigations and customer fairness in complaint handling.

“Basham will be a strong advocate for fairness,” Britt Warlop, ADRBO’s ombudsman, said in the release. “Having worked for many years in organizations where consumers didn’t always think things went right, he understands how important it is to ensure that consumers know they are heard, fairly and impartially.”

ADRBO reported that it has accelerated its file processing by 29% and ruled in favour of consumers in 42% of its cases in the past year.

“I am excited to join the ADRBO board at a time when the office is taking significant steps to enhance its investigative effectiveness,” Basham said in the release.

Last year, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), which oversees the banking sector’s complaints bodies, published a review that identified deficiencies in the bank system and made recommendations for improving policies, procedures and complaint handling.

The FCAC questioned the practice of allowing banks to chose the external arbiter of customer complaints, citing concerns that this “negatively affects consumers’ perceptions of the fairness and impartiality of the system.”