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Britain's most complained about financial firms

Barclays is the UK’s most complained about bank, receiving more than 2,300 new complaints a day from its disgruntled customers.

Figures published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the new city regulator, shows it received a total of 414,302 new complaints in the second half of 2012.

The FCA data shows that the companies that received the most complaints, after Barclays, were Lloyds TSB (349,386 new complaints over this period) Bank of Scotland (338,913), MBNA (270,486) and Santander (237,923).

In total there were 3.4 million complaints about financial companies over this period – a 1pc increase on the previous six months period.

While Barclays received the most complaints overall, when this data is looked at in more detail, it is Santander that received most complaints about current accounts, mortgages and investments, while Lloyds TSB had the most complaints about mis-sold payment protection insurance.

The FCA also publishes data in relation to individual banking brands – so complaints against Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland – all part of Lloyds Banking Group – are considered separately. If these were added together then its customers complaints would top 750,000, almost twice as many complaints as Barclays.

The regulator does not adjust these figures to take into account that the fact that banks have a much larger customer base than other financial firms, so the larger high street banks invariably come out worst in these standard comparisons.

However, a recent report by Which? found that one in four bank customers said they had experienced problems with their account in the past year, with the most common problems being poor customer service and the bank selling inappropriate products.

However, Barclays Lloyds, BOS and Santander all saw a decrease in the number of complaints received on the previous six-month period, with complaints at Lloyds TSB falling by the biggest margin, at 19pc.

Not surprisingly the bulk of these problems (2.1m complaints) concerned the mis-selling of payment protection insurance. This mis-selling scandal shows no sign of abating, with number of disputed sales rising by 5pc on the previous six month period. After this, the product causing most complaints was current accounts – the source of 304,196 customer complaints.

There was also an increase in the number of complaints about other insurance products, such as travel car and health policies. However, overall number are smaller with just 96,679 complaints about these insurance policies over this period.

Martin Wheatley, the chief executive of the FCA, said: “Greater transparency drives greater competition and the publication of the complaints data lays bar the track record of the UK’s financial institutions when it comes to resolving customers conflicts.”

A spokesman for Barclays said: “We continue to make substantial and sustained progress in driving down banking complaints. Despite these welcome reductions complaint volumes are still too high and we can’t be complacent. One unhappy customer is one too many, and we still have work to do.”

Martin Dodd, the customer service director at Lloyds Banking Group added: “It’s important to look at complaints figures in the context of the number of accounts. When you do this it’s clear that the Group, including Lloyds TSB and Halifax, receives fewer banking complaints than any other major bank. This demonstrates the signficant customer service improvements we’ve made over the last three years.”

It’s own figures show that for every 1,000 accounts run, it receives 1.1 complaint; this compares to 2.6 complaints with HSBC, 2.9pc with Barclays, 3.8 complaints with RBS and 4 complaints per 1000 account with Santander. However this figures do not include complaints about mis-sold PPI.

The regulator requires firms with more than 500 complaints opened in any six-month period to publish this data on their websites. The FCA then collates this information and publishes it each spring and autumn.

Article taken from – The Telegraph

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Posted by Jay Beecher on 15 Apr 2013

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