Financial Ombudsman Services reports record levels of complaints from bank customers – 'Banks must start listening or face the consequences'
Dissatisfaction with the big banks has reached record levels with half a million new complaints, a 92% increase on last year says MoveYourMoneyUK..
Four of the UK's biggest banks, Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland, accounted for 62% of all complaints received, increasing their share from 52% the previous year.
Although PPI complaints accounted for the majority of the increase, a new trend has emerged with complaints about current accounts also skyrocketing by over a third.
Laura Willoughby MBE, Chief Executive of campaigning website www.moveyourmoney,org.uk said:
“These figures show that when hard times hit, the big banks simply are not standing by their loyal customers. Despite all the public support they have received they are still putting their own pay packets before the needs of their customers.”
“This isn’t just about being stuck on the phone to a call centre for hours. In these tough economic conditions cancelling someone’s overdraft without informing them or failing to change payments on time can mean the difference between making it through the month and falling into debt.”
The Financial Ombudsman Service, which is considering hiring 1000 new staff simply to deal with the volume of enquiries, is calling on the banks to improve their complaints handling procedures. However, the banks claim that they are unable to deal with the ever-growing number of PPI claims being uncovered.
Laura Willoughby continued:
“Of course the banks need to get better at handling complaints. But more importantly they need to think about how to treat customers fairly in the first place. They should try to avoid breaking the family china in the first place rather than focusing on how to apologise once its already smashed.”
“The big Banks need to put customer relationships at the heart of everything they do, and that means going back to basics. Looking after people’s money, making loans to real companies and families and supporting the economy. It may be boring, it may not deliver astronomical bonuses and dividends but it's what the UK needs.”
However, Laura Willoughby emphasised that not all banks are the same. Figures show that Building Societies and smaller banks receive lower levels of complaints and higher levels of customer satisfaction then their larger high street peers.
Laura Willoughby commented:
“People are justifiably angry, and that anger is turning into action – whether that’s taking a complaint all the way to the Ombudsman or moving their money to another bank which actually values their custom. The British public are saying ‘enough is enough’ and the banks need to start listening or face the consequences.”