Alliance & Leicester fined £7m over insurance sales

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High street bank Alliance & Leicester was fined a record £7m today for "serious failings" over selling techniques for payment protection insurance (PPI).

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said telephone sales staff at the bank failed to make clear that the insurance for its loans was optional, and they were also trained to put pressure on customers when they queried the inclusion of PPI.

FSA enforcement director Margaret Cole said: "The failings at A&L (Alliance & Leicester) are the most serious we have found. This is reflected in the record PPI fine."

The failings occurred between 2005 and 2007, the FSA said, when A&L sold 210,000 policies at an average price of £1,265.