RBS fined £2.8m over complaints handling

Royal Bank of Scotland has been fined £2.8 million for "multiple failings" in the way it handled customers' complaints, the City watchdog said today.





The Financial Services Authority said the part-nationalised bank responded inadequately to more than half of all the complaints it reviewed.



It said there was a "high risk" that customers of both RBS and its NatWest brand may not have been treated fairly due to a catalogue of failings in the bank's approach to handling routine complaints.







These failings included delays in responding to customers and poor quality investigations into complaints, with complaints handlers failing to obtain and take into account all relevant information when making a decision.



The group also issued correspondence which failed to fully address all of the concerns raised by customers, while it did not explain why complaints had been upheld or rejected.



Customers were also not given information on their right to refer their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service within the appropriate time period.



Overall, the FSA said 53% of the cases it reviewed showed deficient complaint handling, while in 62% of cases the bank failed to follow FSA rules on giving people information on the Financial Ombudsman Service and in 31% of cases it did not demonstrate fair outcomes for consumers.



The regulator said the problems stemmed from the fact that the bank did not give staff adequate training and guidance on how to properly handle a complaint.



It also failed to monitor complaint handling in branches and the management information produced was not enough to assess whether customers were being treated fairly.



RBS also failed to ensure that complaint handlers properly reviewed complaints, taking into account all of the relevant factors.











The investigation looked at routine banking complaints lodged during 2009, and did not include complaints about controversial payment protection insurance or unauthorised overdraft charges.



It is not known exactly how many customers may have been affected but, during the period covered by the review, RBS was the second largest provider of retail banking products and services in the UK, with around 2,200 branches and 15 million customers.



Figures on the group's website show that 29,035 RBS customers and 68,589 NatWest customers complained about banking products during the second half of 2009, excluding complaints about unauthorised overdrafts.



Margaret Cole, the FSA's managing director of enforcement and financial crime, said: "We expect firms to treat customers fairly and that consumers can be confident that their complaints will be dealt with properly.



"The failure of these two high street banks to deal adequately with complaints put consumers at unacceptable risk and the fine of £2.8 million reflects this."



The regulator said RBS had co-operated fully with the investigation, and agreed to make significant changes to the way it deals with complaints, including working with an "independent skilled person" on an extensive review of all parts of its complaints handling arrangements.



The group agreed to settle at an early stage of the investigation and, as a result, it qualified for a 30% discount in its fine, without which the penalty would have been £4 million.



The problems were uncovered during an FSA review of the way the UK's major banks handle complaints.



As a result of the review, a total of five banks, of which only RBS has been named, have taken significant action to improve the way they handle complaints.



Brian Hartzer, chief executive of UK Retail, Wealth and Ulster Bank at RBS, said: "We acknowledge the findings of the FSA investigation.



"It confirmed shortcomings in our routine complaint-handling that we assessed in our own internal review and which we are committed to putting right.



"We recognise the importance of complaint handling for our customers and are focused on addressing the root causes of complaints.



"Such is our determination to get this right for our customers that complaint resolution features as one of our Customer Charter commitments."

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) - Hertfordshire/Middlesex

£300 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) Watford...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style