Douglas Mel­ville’s first order of business as Canada’s new banking ombudsman is to find “a creative way” to deal with the “perfect storm” hitting his office.

The global recession has left the ombudsman for banking services and investments “absolutely bur­ied” in new complaints, Melville said yesterday.

Its complaint volume shot up by 67 per cent in the second quarter from the first quarter. And Melville fully expects OBSI’s total caseload to surpass 1,000 in fiscal 2009.

Last year, it opened 670 files.

Consumers, he said, are grousing mostly about mortgage prepayment penalties. Given low-interest rates, many are eager to refinance but find breaking a contract can be costly.