In July 2017, Ms Reana Steyn was appointed as the next Banking Ombudsman.

Ms. Steyn is the first woman to hold this position.


Adv. Clive Pillay was appointed in 2007

Adv. Pillay served until his retirement in 2017.


The incumbent Banking Adjudicator, Adv. Neville Melville served as Ombudsman from May 2000 till 2007.

The Adjudicator was responsible for the day-to-day running of the office.


In 2003 the two bodies were amalgamated into a single board with a minority of banking representatives to ensure the independence of the scheme.


In May 2000 a new Ombudsman’s Office was established under new rules and under new leadership.

As a result of the concern regarding the perceived lack of independence of the office, a Commission was appointed to select a new incumbent.

The new office was initially called the Office of the Banking Adjudicator (OBA) and was incorporated as a company not for gain, in terms of section 21 of the Companies Act. The powers of the Board were divided between the Board, the Commission and the Adjudicator.

The Board of the company was composed mainly of bankers and its main function was to ensure that the Office was adequately funded.

There was also a Commission that ensured the independence of the Adjudicator and the office.


The Banking Council appointed Mr Charl Cilliers as Ombudsman in 1997.

Shortly after Mr Cilliers took office he realised that his office was open to the serious criticism that it lacked impartiality and independence. This was because he had been appointed by the banking industry itself.


The banking industry decided to set up an Ombudsman’s Office in 1997 when it became clear that:

There was a need to improve the public image of the banks;

The banking industry was being criticised by government and consumer bodies regarding service;

The banking industry was out of step with overseas developments to establish ombudsman schemes;

Government regulation might occur if the industry did not regulate itself.

Where it all began.
Where it all began.