Complaints against banks fall 5%

Barclays Bank and Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management were two of the most complained about firms in the investment product group in the first half of this year, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) figures show.

Barclays Bank significantly topped the table of top five complained-against firms in the investment product group with 2,844 complaints, and Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management came at the bottom of the five with 1,572 complaints.

The FCA figures cover January to June this year and also show that Barclays was the most complained about firm overall, with 278,426 complaints – though this is a decline of 10% since the second half of 2013.

Bank of Scotland saw a 46% increase in complaints.

In the investment product group after Barclays, Financial Administration Services and HSBC Bank each received 1,912 complaints, Bank of Scotland had 1,647 complaints, and Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management came fifth.

Overall complaints, which span product groups ranging from banking to home finance, decreased by 5% from the 2,493,729 complaints received in the previous six months of 2013, to 2,358,732 this year.

The top five most complained about firms in the first half of 2014 and compared to the second half of 2013, were:

• Barclays Bank – 278,426 (-10%)
• Bank of Scotland – 265,640 (+46%)
• Lloyds Bank – 264,115 (+3%)
• National Westminster Bank – 140,342 (-20%)
• Santander UK – 135,611 (-13%)

Christopher Woolard, the FCA’s director of policy, risk and research, says: “It’s important that firms now get on top of the issues that are driving complaints. Although it’s encouraging to see the total number of complaints fall, there is clearly further work to be done to ensure that consumer interests come first.”

Investments were not in the top five most complained-about products and services. In descending order, most complaints were for payment protection insurance, current accounts, other general insurance, credit cards and savings, and other banking.

In the banking product group, the firms with the largest number of complaints opened in the first half of 2014 were:

• Santander UK – 91,158
• Barclays Bank – 88,792
• HSBC Bank – 65,865
• National Westminster Bank – 62,175
• Lloyds Bank – 42,245

The total amount of redress paid fell by 12% from £2.65 billion (€3.38 billion) in the second half of 2013 to £2.34 billion in the first half of 2014. This was largely due to a 17% fall in the number of complaints closed about general insurance and pure protection products (including PPI), which made up 89% of all redress payments in the first half of 2014.

Complaints against banks and building societies accounted for 66% of all complaints in the first half of 2014, followed by 13% against general insurance intermediaries and 8% against other insurers.

The FCA requires firms that receive 500 or more complaints in a six-month period to publish the information on their websites.

©2014 funds europe

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