Barclays has once again topped the official complaints table of shame published by the City regulator.
The bank – which was accused of having an “entitlement culture” by an independent report this month – was the most criticised financial-services brand in the second half of 2012 with 414,302 new complaints.
It was followed by two brands from Lloyds Banking Group, Lloyds TSB – with 349,386 complaints – and Bank of Scotland – with 338,912. The figures leave Lloyds named as the most complained about financial-services group by the Financial Conduct Authority.
However, the bank was keen to deflect its poor complaints record. Group customer service director, Martin Dodd, said: “It’s important to look at complaints figures in the context of the number of accounts. When you do this, it’s clear that the group, including Lloyds TSB and Halifax, receives fewer banking complaints than any other major bank.”
He said the group’s figures are now equivalent to receiving 1.1 complaints per 1,000 accounts, compared with 1.5 at the end of 2011, and 2.1 at the end of 2010.
In fact Santander topped the table for banking complaints with 125,451, followed by Barclays with 118,031 and NatWest with 81,519. In total there were almost 3.5 million complaints about financial service firms during the six months to the end of 2012 with the majority – 2.1 million – about mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).
The total figure was 1 per cent higher than the first half of the year as the number of PPI complaints climbed by 5 per cent. Complaints about current accounts actually fell 6 per cent while grumbles about insurance – other than PPI – rose 6 per cent.
Current accounts generated just over 300,000 complaints while there were just under 300,000 complaints about car and home insurance. However, a Which? survey into banking complaints showed that more than a fifth – 22 per cent – about current accounts were not dealt with satisfactorily by banks, according to their customers. Two-thirds of customers with current account problems complained to their bank, with three in 10 having to complain more than once before it was resolved.
However, half were resolved on the same day or the day after the bank received the initial contact and these complaints do not have to be reported to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and so do not appear in official statistics, Which? pointed out.
Martin Wheatley, FCA chief executive, said the total amount of redress paid to customers in the six months to the end of December 2012 was just under £3bn.
Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service – which has just published its latest customer satisfaction research – said banks should study other industries to improve their complaints’ handling.
“Banks must look to top performers, such as online retailer ASOS and John Lewis, as examples of best practice, and identify how they can adapt to changes in the sector to improve the experience they offer customers.”