Ryan Bembridge

October 6, 2016

Bank of Scotland has topped the Financial Conduct Authority’s mortgage and equity release complaints list for the first half of 2016.

There were 9,894 Bank of Scotland complaints, followed by Santander (8,760), HSBC Bank (6,715), Landmark Mortgages (5,894) and Barclays Bank (5,272).

Financial services firms as a whole recorded 2.05 million complaints, a 2.6% fall from the previous six months.

Barclays Bank was the most complained about firm with 287,463 complaints, while it also topped the list for general insurance and protection, including PPI, with 153,718 complaints.

Christopher Woolard, director of strategy and competition, said: “To see another six months of reduction in the total number complaints is encouraging.

“Firms still need to continue to ensure they are doing all they can to reduce consumer dissatisfaction, but the figures show firms are taking our feedback seriously”.

Of the 2.05 million complaints 930,000 were about payment protection insurance and 1.12 million excluding PPI.

The total redress paid to consumers was £1.96bn.

Terry Baxter, director of risk and compliance at Target Group, said: “It’s pleasing to see that the number of complaints overall has continued to fall to a total of 2.05m and that financial services firms recorded a 2.6% reduction overall with almost all product categories seeing a reduction in redress payments compared to the second half of 2015. Challenges remain though, with general insurance and pure protection (including PPI) complaints in particular increasing 6%.”

Baxter added that while those figures were unsurprising, all eyes would be on the regulator in December when it has promised to publish its decision around a deadline for PPI complaints, as well as rules and guidance on handling PPI complaints in light of Plevin.

He said: “All indications are that consumers are becoming more complaint savvy and firm’s need to respond to this challenge. Whether this is from personal education, media attention or information being more readily available via popular money and blog sites, customers are better informed and better equipped to make complaints about poor service. In the age of social media and increased transparency around complaints handling, it is even more crucial to respond accordingly and ensure the handling process is sophisticated enough to meet the demands of more educated, discerning and demanding customers.”

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