Lloyds, Barclays and Santander have been identified as Britain’s most complained about banks. The number of disputes recorded by the FSA has been revealed for the first time, with Lloyds and Barclays each receiving over a quarter of a million in the first half of 2010.
The FSA has also called for an improved complaints handling procedure and a higher compensation limit for customers whose complaint is upheld.
Lloyds causes most complaints
Lloyds Banking Group was revealed to have received 288,717 complaints, Barclays 250,667 and Santander 244,978. Disputes were caused by the firms’ day-to-day banking activities and also by ‘general insurance’, which includes payment protection insurance.
Commenting on the FSA figures, Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said:
‘Yet again, the big high street banks are failing to put customers first. The banking industry urgently needs to overhaul the way it treats its customers if it’s going to rebuild its shattered reputation.
‘Clearly a reform of the way bank staff are incentivised is needed – bonuses should be linked to treating customers fairly and the resolution of complaints, not to sales.’
Complaints handling streamlined
Complaints received by banks and other financial institutions are normally and then referred to the (FOS) if they cannot be resolved. The FSA is concerned that this process lacks transparency and often takes longer than it should.
Sheila Nicoll, FSA Director of conduct policy said: ‘Good complaints handling standards should be the rule not the exception and complaints handling forms a key part of our intensive and intrusive approach to supervise how firms deal with their customers.
‘Dealing fairly and effectively with customers who make a complaint provides a valuable opportunity for firms to rebuild and enhance their relationships with their customers.’
If you have a problem with your bank, take a look at our guide to making a complaint.
Increased award limits
Where the Financial Ombudsman Service upholds a complain in the customer’s favour, it can direct a bank or financial institution to pay compensation. The limit for this is currently £100,000, but the FSA proposes to increase this to £150,000. This is intended to ‘provide fairer and more effective redress for customers.’
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