Blemain and Pepper UK among most complained about firms

Ryan Bembridge

April 26, 2017

Together Group’s Blemain Finance and Pepper UK are among the most complained about home finance providers per customer, the latest data from the Financial Conduct Authority has revealed.

In the second half of 2016 – and coming in at third and fourth on the list – Blemain took 42.4 complaints per 1,000 live mortgages and Pepper UK received 42 complaints per 1,000 home finance customers. Blemain upheld 52% of the complaints and Pepper 33%.

‘Home finance’ covers equity release, second and subsequent charge, impaired credit, and ‘other’ regulated and unregulated home finance products, according to the data.

The second most complained about firm with 43.3 complaints per 1,000 is Landmark Mortgages, which is a rebranding of Northern Rock Asset Management which itself was acquired by Cerberus Capital Management in 2016 and no longer takes new business.

Meanwhile Lloyd’s Banking Group’s Black Horse Limited was the only firm with more complaints than live mortgages (1115.9 per 1,000).

The reason Black Horse’s figures are so extreme is Lloyds sold non-performing loans on to Marlin Capital Europe in October 2014 – but the parent group is still handling the complaints despite having few live mortgages on its books. Block Horse provides car, motorcycle and caravan finance.

In terms of the number of mortgage complaints still being handled, Bank of Scotland has the most (21,776), followed by HSBC (14,090) and Santander (9,755).

Payment protection insurance was the most complained about product with 895,000 complaints followed by current accounts at 514,000.

Customers were paid £1.9bn in redress across all product lines, while for home finance £23m was paid back.

It’s hard to ascertain the least complained about firms because the FCA excluded data from those that reported fewer than 500 complaints in the six month period.

Today’s data cannot be directly compared with past information because all complaints have been captured under new FCA rules irrespective of what the complaint was.

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition, said: “Consumers want a simple way to complain that does not leave them out of pocket. And they want to be assured that their concerns will be dealt with fairly and quickly.

“These data will provide us with improved intelligence on complaints including new detailed data to show where industry is potentially failing consumers at product level.”

Both Blemain/Together and Pepper UK were unavailable for comment.

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