Banking complaints up as total complaints fall by 7%

The latest complaints data published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) shows financial services firms received 2,183,540 new complaints (including those related to PPI) between July and December 2014. Overall complaints decreased by 7% compared to the previous six months and by 12% from the same period last year.

However, excluding payment protection insurance (PPI), complaints increased by 1% to 1,124,622 between the first and second halves of 2014 and by 2% when compared with the same period in 2013. This increase was mainly caused by an 8% rise in the number of complaints relating to banking and credit cards group of products over the six months to the end of December. All other product categories showed decreases in the period.

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

"Today’s statistics offer a mixed picture. When you take PPI out of the equation, complaints are still on the up.  So, while the overall decreases we have seen should be welcomed there is still more for financial services firms to do. The FCA’s challenge to those firms is to put the necessary measures in place to ensure we see a consistent fall across all sectors."

PPI accounted for less than half (48%) of complaints for the first time in the last three years but remained the most complained about product with 1,058,918 opened complaints in 2014 H2. The number of PPI complaints opened decreased by 14% to 1,058,918 in the second half of 2014 compared to the first six months of the year.

The total redress paid increased by 4% to £2.44bn in in the second half of 2014, from £2.34bn in the first half of the year. 88% of this amount (£2.15bn) related to general insurance and pure protection products, which include PPI. The redress paid in relation to banking and credit card products increased by 64% to £145m between July and December.  This constituted 6% of the total redress paid in the last six months of the year against 4% in the previous period.

The top five most complained about firms, in terms of the number of complaints received in the second half of 2014, were:

  1. Barclays Bank – 276,626 (a decrease of 1% since the first half of 2014)
  2. Lloyds Bank – 242,782 (a decrease of 8% since the first half of 2014)
  3. Bank of Scotland – 231,869 (a decrease of 13% since the first half of 2014)
  4. HSBC – 152,148 (an increase of 16% since the first half of 2014
  5. National Westminster Bank– 126,507 (a decrease of 10% since the first half of 2014)

The top five most complained about products and services in the second half of 2014 were:

  1. Payment protection insurance – 1,058,918 complaints (down 14%, compared to the previous 6 months)
  2. Current accounts –385,818 complaints (up 22%, compared to the previous 6 months)
  3. Other general insurance – 318,326 complaints (down 0.16%, compared to the previous 6 months)
  4. Credit cards –109,487 complaints (down 14%, compared to the previous 6 months)
  5. Savings, including cash ISAs, and other banking -  84,352 complaints (up 5%, compared to the previous 6 months)

By product group, the firms with the largest number of complaints opened in the second half of 2014 were:

Banking and credit cards

  1. Barclays Bank – 109,994
  2. Santander UK – 82,953
  3. National Westminster Bank  – 68,027
  4. HSBC Bank– 66,109
  5. Lloyds Bank  – 57,359

Home finance (mortgages and equity release products)

  1. Bank of Scotland – 11,601
  2. Santander UK – 9,728
  3. Barclays Bank – 5,451
  4. HSBC Bank – 5,447
  5. Nationwide Building Society – 5,047

General insurance and pure protection (including payment protection insurance)

  1. Lloyds Bank– 183,652
  2. Bank of Scotland– 179,250
  3. Barclays Bank  - 157,822
  4. MBNA– 95,217
  5. HSBC – 76,968

Decumulation, Life and Pensions

  1. The Prudential Assurance Company Limited – 6,209
  2. Friends Life Limited – 5,188
  3. Aviva Life Services UK Limited – 4,153
  4. Phoenix Life Limited – 3,864
  5. Scottish Widows Plc – 3,382

Investments

  1. Santander UK – 4,278
  2. Barclays Bank – 2,576
  3. Yorkshire Building Society – 2,240
  4. HSBC – 1,853
  5. Bank of Scotland – 1,059

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.

Last year the FCA consulted on changes to its complaint handling rules. The proposed reforms will further improve the system, making it 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.

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 December 2014, The FCA consulted on changes to its complaint handling rules.
  6. In November 2014, the FCA published a thematic review on complaint handling at large firms.
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. Find out more information about the FCA.