Which is the Most Complained About Bank?

Barclays bank was the complained bank with nearly 280,000 complaints in the second half of 2015. Banking and credit cards and PPI products failed to satisfy consumers' needs the most

Karen Kwok 31 March, 2016 | 4:45PM
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Barclays is the most complained against bank in the UK, with 280,000 complaints recorded in the most recent data revealed by the industry regulator.

Figures from Financial Conduct Authority show that Barclays topped the complaints chart between July and December 2015, although it did manage to decrease complaints by 1% compared to the previous six months.

The largest number of complaints the bank received was regarding the general insurance and protection services with more than 136,000 complaints. The bank also struggles to satisfy consumers’ needs in banking and credit cards services with more than 133,000 complaints, the industry regulator revealed.

The data was divided into five product groups, and Barclays failed to satisfy consumers’ needs in four out of the five. The bank had the largest number of complaints opened in banking and credit cards, home finance, general insurance and pure protection and investments. In the de-cumulation, life and pensions category it did not feature.

In response to the figures, Matt Hammerstein, head of client and customer experience at Barclays said complaints was an important way for them to know what consumers want and they would “keep working hard” to address consumer’ needs.

“But it is equally important that we focus on improving the service for the 99% of our customers who do not complain, delivering products and services that answer what they want and need from their bank in order to improve overall customer satisfaction,” Hammerstein said.

Prudential Receives Most Pensions Complaints

Insurance and banking products frustrated a lot of consumers, in the second half of 2015, making up the bulk of complaints.

Home finance, life and pensions, and investments products comparatively performed better. These three products only accounted for a single digit of percentage of the total complaints in the six months.

The Prudential received the most complaints in life and pensions group totalling 8,000 and HSBC bank was the largest complaints received in the investments group with 3,000 reported.

Credit Card and PPI Complaints Rise

Complaints over credit cards and payment protection insurance were the only two risers among all products in the second half of 2015.

The largest growth in the number of complaints was credit cards, up 9% to more than 132,000 in the six months to the end of December 2015. Another increase on the number of complaints was payment protection insurance (PPI), rising 6% to more than 932,000, making it the top most complained products in the same period of time. The main cause of the complaints is related to advising, selling and arranging issues, signalling the mis-selling scandal over the payment protection insurance continues to haunt the finance industry.

Credit cards are the third most complained financial products in the same period, accounting for 32% of the total complaints. Yet the authority also stated that there had been a large reduction by 60% in the number of credit card complaints since the first half year of 2012, showing a gradual improvement of services in the long term.

Nationwide Building Society is one of the achievers in lowering the number of credit card complaints in six months with a decline of 25.6%, the biggest fall of any product area for the society. The promising figure is aided by the company’s campaign started in May 2015 aiming for “transparency and improved fairness in the credit card market”,  and a collective approach combining “new technology” and “face to face time” with consumers, according to Nationwide’s Divisional Director for Customer Experience, Terry Kaye.

Current Accounts and Savings Fuel the Decline

Also there are significant drops in the number of current accounts and savings accounts complaints with a 10% and 15% fall respectively. These two products are the main driver to an overall 1.4% decrease of new complaints made by consumers in the second half of 2015. There are 2.1 million new complaints received in the period of time.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Barclays PLC196.70 GBX3.33Rating
HSBC Holdings PLC509.40 GBX3.51Rating

About Author

Karen Kwok

Karen Kwok  is a Reporter for Morningstar.co.uk