Overall complaints fall by 2.1% but banking and credit card complaints increase

Published: 30/09/2015     Last Modified: 01/10/2015

The latest complaints data published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) shows financial services firms received 2,138,209 new complaints between January and June 2015.

Overall complaints decreased by 2.1% compared to the previous six months, driven by the fall in PPI-related complaints. The ‘decumulation, life and pensions’ product group saw a rise of 19.7% to 73,055 complaints, while ‘general insurance and pure protection’, which contains PPI-related complaints, saw a drop of 13.6% to 1,204,783.

When payment protection insurance (PPI) is excluded, complaints continued to increase, this time by 11.6% to 1,255,166 between the second half of 2014 and the first half of 2015.

This increase was mainly caused by a 21.8% rise in the number of complaints relating to the group of products containing banking and credit cards over the six months to the end of June and specifically by the advising, selling and arranging of these products which more than doubled from 133,922 in 2014 H2 (second half of the year) to 276,071 complaints in 2015 H1 (first half of the year).

PPI complaints fell again, this time by 16.6% to 883,043 compared to the second half of 2014, continuing the trend since the second half of 2012.

The FCA’s director of strategy and competition, Christopher Woolard, said:

"While the ongoing fall in PPI complaints is welcome, this is the second half-year running that we have seen complaints about banking products rise. It is clear that firms need to look at the causes for this rise and where necessary take action to address the causes of the trend. Ensuring good consumer outcomes should be at the heart of firms’ activities and we want to see complaints fall in the future as firms seek to ensure that consumers get the right products and services.”

While PPI accounted for less than half (41.3%) of complaints for the second time in three years, and fell below 1 million complaints per half year period for the first time since 2012, it remained the most complained about product.

The total redress paid fell by 18.9% to £1.98bn in 2015 H1 from £2.44bn in 2014 H2, with 83.2% of this amount (£1.65bn) related to ‘general insurance and pure protection’ products, which include PPI products. The redress paid in relation to ‘banking and credit card’ products increased by 46.7% to £212.4m between 2014 H2 and 2015 H1. 

The top five most complained about products and services in 2015 H1 were:

  1. Payment protection insurance – 883,043 complaints (down 16.6% compared to the previous six months)
  2. Current accounts –506,326 complaints (up 31.2% compared to the previous six months)
  3. Other general insurance – 304,919 complaints (down 4.3% compared to the previous six months)
  4. Credit cards –121,615 complaints (up 11.1% compared to the previous six months)
  5. Savings, including cash ISAs, and other banking -  78,981 complaints (down 6.4% compared to the previous six months)

Although we do not currently publish the number of complaints by number of customers or number of accounts - to put their figures into context in relation to the size of their business - we recommend that firms do so on their own websites. Our downloadable table provides a link to each firm’s website where you can find this additional information.

We will be providing more contextualisation information in future publications and will be requiring firms to publish this on their own websites (rather than doing so on a recommended basis) from August next year.

The top five most complained about firms, in terms of the number of complaints received in 2015 H1 were:

  1. Barclays Bank Plc – 283,221 (an increase of 2.4% since 2014 H2)
  2. Lloyds Bank Plc – 232,971 (a decrease of 4.0% since 2014 H2)
  3. Bank of Scotland Plc – 190,121 (a decrease of 18.0% since 2014 H2)
  4. National Westminster Bank Plc – 144,741 (an increase of 14.4% since 2014 H2)
  5. HSBC Bank Plc – 140,244 (a decrease of 7.8% since 2014 H2)

By product group, the firms with the largest number of complaints opened in 2015 H1 were:

Banking and credit cards

  1. Barclays Bank Plc - 140,574
  2. National Westminster Bank Plc - 95,994
  3. Lloyds Bank Plc - 85,504
  4. Santander UK Plc - 80,566
  5. HSBC Bank Plc - 72,356

Home finance (mortgages and equity release products)

  1. Bank of Scotland Plc - 8,811
  2. Santander UK Plc - 8,517
  3. NRAM Plc - 6,015
  4. HSBC Bank Plc - 5,998
  5. Barclays Bank Plc - 5,774

General insurance and pure protection (including payment protection insurance)

  1. Lloyds Bank Plc - 145,673
  2. Barclays Bank Plc - 133,371
  3. Bank of Scotland Plc - 125,647
  4. MBNA Limited - 83,129
  5. HSBC Bank Plc - 57,347

Decumulation, Life and Pensions

  1. The Prudential Assurance Company Limited - 8,827
  2. Friends Life Limited  - 7,013
  3. The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited - 5,688
  4. Aviva Life Services UK Limited - 4,342
  5. Scottish Widows Plc - 4,110

Investments

  1. Santander UK Plc - 4,375
  2. HSBC Bank Plc - 2,932
  3. Barclays Bank Plc - 2,759
  4. Halifax Share Dealing Limited - 1,724
  5. Equiniti Financial Services Limited - 1,626

The FCA publishes complaints data received from firms every six months, alongside aggregated figures covering the whole industry. The FCA requires firms which receive 500 or more complaints in a six-month period to publish the information on their websites.

Notes to editors

  1. A summary of the complaints data.
  2. More detailed data.
  3. Aggregate commentary.
  4. The FCA collates and publishes complaints data every six months, alongside aggregated figures covering the whole industry. The data, which can be found on the FCA website, is presented in two different formats: aggregate data showing the overall number of complaints made, and firm-specific data showing figures for individual firms reporting 500 or more opened complaints.  
  5. In July 2015, the FCA published new rules on changes to its complaint handling rules. The reforms will further improve the complaints systems and procedures, making them less bureaucratic for firms, easier for consumers and will provide us with improved intelligence on complaints. This followed a review which found that while some improvements and innovations have already been made firms could and should be doing more. In particular, firms did not always consider the impact on consumers when designing and implementing processes and procedures. As a result of these rule changes, from September 2016 the FCA’s biannual complaint data release will change. This new, fuller data set will not be comparable to historic data published by the FCA. However, we believe that the new biannual complaint data publication will be more informative for consumers and industry (including figures to put the number of complaints into context in relation to the size of each business), and will provide better intelligence to the FCA.
  6. Firms do not currently have to report complaints to the FCA that have been resolved by close of business on the business day following their receipt. These complaints are not included in this data. Further information.
  7. On 1 April 2013, the FCA became responsible for the conduct and supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  8. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  9. Find out more information about the FCA.

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