The FCA – which launched on April 1st in place of the former Financial Services Authority – reports a total of 3,422,384 complaints received in the last six months of 2012, up by 1% over the first half of the year.
Of these, 414,302 were filed against Barclays – more than any other bank, but a fall of 6% between the first and second halves of 2012.
In terms of the reason behind complaints, payment protection insurance led to 2,170,537 complaints in the second half of 2012, up by 5% and an indication that the PPI mis-selling scandal is far from over.
Other ‘general insurance‘ products – including critical illness cover, which is similar to PPI in many ways – added almost 300,000 more to this figure, taking the total number of complaints about general insurance including PPI to 2,494,247.
Complaints up, compensation down
With general insurance and PPI driving the total number of complaints up – and PPI alone accounting for almost two thirds (63%) of all complaints – you might expect that the banks paid out more in compensation during the second half of the year.
However, this is not the case: from £3,169 million paid out in redress during the first six months of 2012, the figure actually dropped to £2,946 million in the latest report.
FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley says making this data public should help to drive down the number of complaints in the years to come.
He adds: “Greater transparency drives greater competition, and the publication of the complaints data lays bare the track record of the UK’s financial institutions when to comes to resolving customer conflicts.”
In many cases, however, banking customers may be more concerned that, when their financial services provider acts inappropriately, they should be able to expect fast and full monetary compensation for any losses incurred.