FSA data: Barclays again tops complaints league

THERE were more than a quarter of a million complaints against banking giant Barclays in the first half of the year, data from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) revealed yesterday.

The figure means that Barclays remains the UK’s most complained-about bank, with the group receiving 251,563 complaints in the six months to June 30, followed by Lloyds TSB with 181,907 and Santander with 168,888.

Among firms with a major presence in East Anglia, Aviva had 30,278 complaints, Axa 6,667, Churchill 10,459, Hiscox 591, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society 2,553, NFU Mutual 2,422, Royal and Sun Alliance 8,785 and Swinton 1,176.

However, the context of the complaints figures is important – firstly because the size of any organisation and the number of customers it has will clearly impact on the number of complaints made, and secondly the payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling scandal has affected the whole sector.

Barclays said it had cut the number of complaints directly related to banking and that much of the rise was due to PPI complaints.

Retail banking boss Antony Jenkins said: “We have made good progress in reducing complaints, with a substantial and sustainable reduction in banking complaints by nearly a third.

“However, there is much more to be done and we are working hard to further improve our service to our customers.”

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The total number of PPI complaints surged by 23% to 531,667. The responsibility for complaints regarding the mis-selling of PPI rests with the seller of the products, and so for many financial institutions PPI does not impact on complaints figures.

An Aviva spokesman said: “We recognise that sometimes things are not as the customer expected or we get it wrong. We would like to reassure our customers that we take all complaints very seriously and aim to resolve these as quickly as possible.

“However with respect to the number of complaints we receive this needs to be seen in context - we are the UK’s largest insurer with over 19 million customers and the complaints we receive represent less than 0.2% of those customers.”