by Mark Johnston
A Rise in the Number of Bank Complaints.
As everyone knows banks are exactly popular at the moment for a variety of reasons such as scandals over computer glitches and the London Inter Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) fixing but despite these it seems that the majority of complaints are still related to the mis-selling of payment protection insurance.
Every 6 months all banks are required to submit their complaints figures and the most recent figures for this year have shown that there has been a huge increase in the number of complaints made about UK banks.
Figures released by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) show a 27 per cent rise in complaints from the first 6 months of the year, thus highlighting the level of dissatisfaction amongst their customers.
The BBC’s chief economics correspondent, Hugh Pym recently said that “the figures serve to illustrate the continuing challenge faced by all high street banks in rebuilding customer relations”.
Britain’s biggest retail bank, Lloyds banking group, received around 860,000 complaints in the first 6 months of this year, a 145 per cent increase on a year ago.
If payment protection insurance complaints were removed from Natwest’s figures their complaints would have been down 12 per cent. However as it stands the banks complaints have doubled year on year, with 295,934 complaints in the first half of 2012.
Barclays complaints were up 76 per cent on the same period in 2011 andSantanderalso saw a 42 per cent increase in their complaints.
Many banks, building societies and consumer groups have criticised the claims industry for the rise in complaints.
The Royal bank of Scotland (RBS) also received 128 per cent more complaints taking their total for the first half of the year to 195,801. A spokeswoman for the Royal bank of Scotland group said “we take customer complaints very seriously and we continue to work hard to fix the root cause of complaints, improve our complaint handling and to get the right resolution for our customers”.
HSBC also had 170,064 complaints so far this year and spokesman for the bank suggested that although complaints about payment protection insurance had doubled around 40 per cent of these were found not to be legitimate.
Andrew Whiteley, managing director of Proviso chartered financial planners, said “if the public is given carte blanche to complain about payment protection insurance, this has to be expected. It would be better if the data showed the number of complaints in proportion to the number of customers”.
It seems then that the current figures released by various banks show the massive impact the widespread scandal of payment protection insurance is having on their complaints levels.
Clearly these figures show that consumers are becoming much more prepared to complain about their banks, rather than simply accepting bad service as they have done in the past.
Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, says “today’s complaints data is evidence that some banks are still failing to treat their customers fairly when things go wrong and the increase in payment protection insurance complaints further demonstrates just how widespread the mis-selling was”.
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