PPI complaints soar to 2.2 million

 

Finance firms attracted nearly 20,000 complaints a day in the first six months of 2102 as the massive backlash against Britain’s banks continued.

The payment protection insurance mis-selling scandal accounted for the bulk of the 3.6m grievances, according to figures published by the Financial Services Authority this morning.

PPI complaints soared 129 per cent in the period to 2,232,294, while the total number of complaints climbed 59 per cent.

The bill to compensate customers of Britain’s banks who were flogged the useless payment cover is expected to eventually top £10bn.

After the figures were published by the City Watchdog today Consumer group Which? warned that the compensation bill could climb even higher and called on banks to set aside more funding to pay back mis-sold customers.

Its analysis suggests that if PPI payouts continue at the same pace as the first half of 2012, Lloyds could run out of provisions by November 2012, Barclays by December 2012, RBS within the next six months, and HSBC by August next year.

Peter Vicary-Smith Which? chief executive officer said: “PPI is now the biggest financial scandal of all time. The banks must set aside more money for PPI claims and make it easier for customers to get back what they are rightly owed, without any hassle.”

Lloyds Banking Group remains the most-complained financial group as grievances climbed 146 per cent to 860,000 between January and June 2012.

But complaints were split between the many different brands of the partly-state owned banking giant.

Barclays Bank attracted the most individual complaints with 442,266, to top the list of most-complained about finance firms.

Lloyds TSB was second with 431,708 with Lloyds-owned Bank of Scotland grabbing third with 362,869.

NatWest, credit card company MBNA and Spanish-owned Santander all received between 240,000 and 296,000 complaints.

More complaints were upheld against banks – mainly because of the PPI claims - than any other firms with 62 per cent, compared to an average 58 per cent upheld.

Complaints about banking services rose 5 per cent to 828,040 the City Watchdog said, although the number of upheld complaints was 47 per cent, well below the average.

Some 43 per cent – 360,000 - of banking complaints were about terms and charges while 39 per cent – 325,000 - were about customer service.

However complaints to banks about their services are still below the levels seen at the end of 2008, the FSA said, pointing out that complaints about current accounts dropped by 13 per cent, over the period.

Santander received the most complaints about banking issues with 157,165, higher than the previous six months.

The bank blamed the increase on new fraud protection measures introduced in January.  “This resulted in some instances of customers contacting us because they were unhappy about the additional measures put in place to protect their accounts,” it said.

Steve Pateman, head of UK banking, at Santander said: “We do have more to do and continue to focus relentlessly on improving the levels of service we provide to our customers.”

Lloyds claimed the 96,276 banking complaints it received represented a major improvement, pointing out they were 18 per cent lower than the previous six months.

Martin Dodd, customer services director at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “We understand that there’s still work to do, but the figures show that relative to the number of customers, we have fewer complaints than any other bank.”

He said Lloyds had 1.4 complaints per 1,000 accounts, compared to 5.2 at Santander.

In contrast Nationwide building society – with 17,269 complaints about banking services – had 0.7 complaints per 1,000 customers.

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