28th April 2010
The results of the FSA review of the way that banks handle complaints, published today , are unacceptably poor and make dismal reading.
It is disgraceful that senior management in many banks are not taking complaint handling seriously and sorting it out. It should be easy for customers to complain. Clearly, this is often not the case. The Panel has long argued that the way staff are incentivised in banks works against consumers. This report proves it. While some banks are getting better at complaints handling, others clearly lag a long way behind. This cannot be tolerated. The FSA has now referred two banking groups with poor results to enforcement, and other banks have been told to update and improve their procedures. The FSA has committed to follow up work and consideration of rule changes later this year.
Adam Phillips, Chairman of the Financial Services Consumer Panel said:
"It is no wonder that the banks have objected to recent FSA moves to publish complaints data. This FSA report shows that the way banks are handling complaints is lamentable, and can cause real suffering to consumers. Banks will only really change their behaviour when there is no escape from public scrutiny – and there is meaningful information available to show how banks are treating their customers. The FSA needs to take swift and effective action, and to continue its work to ensure published complaints data is as clear as possible.”
Notes to editors
The FSA established the independent Financial Services Consumer Panel in December 1998 to advise its Board on the interests and concerns of consumers and to report on the FSA’s performance in meeting its objectives. The Consumer Panel has statutory status.
The emphasis of the Panel’s work is on activities that are regulated by the FSA, although it may also look at the impact on consumers of activities outside but related to the FSA’s remit. What we're doing for consumers explains more about the work the Panel is doing.
The Consumer Panel brings together a wide range of relevant experience. This includes financial services regulation, working with vulnerable consumers, consumer protection, consumer education, front-line money advice, legal expertise, competition policy, public policy analysis, market research and media.
There are currently thirteen members of the Panel as listed below (for further information on individual members, see Who is on the panel)