Barclays Bank tops the financial complaints table for second time

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Barclays Bank has once again topped the list of financial companies receiving the most complaints, according to official figures issued yesterday by the Financial Services Authority.

The bank grabbed the shameful title from Santander earlier this year and strengthened its position at the top of the list by attracting 251,563 complaints in the six months to the end of June. That was almost 40 per cent more than second-placed Lloyds TSB, which received 181,907 complaints.

Most financial services complaints in the first half of the year related to banks, the FSA report showed. Santander was the third-worst with 168,888, followed by NatWest with 147,109, Bank of Scotland – owned by Lloyds Banking Group – with 130,469, and HSBC with 98,150.

Breaking the banks' monopoly of the most complained-about firms was the credit card company MBNA, which logged 71,269 complaints to grab seventh place in the list of shame. It was closely followed by Royal Bank of Scotland – which also owns fourth-placed NatWest – which received some 68,414 complaints.

Completing the top 10 were the credit card company Capital One, with 39,049 complaints, and British Gas Services, with 37,272. Overall, the total number of complaints rose by 3 per cent to 1,852,284.

Payment-protection insurance continued to dominate the figures, with the total number of complaints about PPI climbing by 23 per cent to 531,667.

In fact, once PPI and insurance-related complaints are stripped out, Barclays said the number of complaints it had about banking in the first six months of 2011 was 162,611 – much less than the 205,151 recorded in the previous six months, and almost a third lower than the number of banking complaints Barclays attracted in the first six months of 2010.

The bank said it had been working to identify problems and improve processes, particularly in relation to replacing debit cards and providing up-to-date account information. Antony Jenkins, chief executive for retail and business banking, said: "We want to get it right every time. When we do get it wrong, we apologise, try to correct it quickly and identify how to prevent it from reoccurring."

He claimed the bank had made progress in reducing complaints but admitted: "There is much more to be done and we are working hard to further improve our service."

Meanwhile, the Financial Services Consumer Panel called yesterday for more meaningful information about banks and their products to be made available to consumers, which would allow them to compare performance.

Adam Phillips, the chairman of the Consumer Panel, said: "Consumers have a right to know about poor firm performance, such as the nature of complaints and a firm's record in handling complaints. The FSA's successor should publish information so that consumers can choose providers which will treat them fairly."