Banking complaints process to be overhauled

Banking complaints process to be overhauled

30 September 2010 / by Paul Dicken

Bank complaints handling and ombudsman awards are to be overhauled in changes proposed by the Financial Services Authority.

The FSA said it was trying to drive up standards in how the industry handles complaints by requiring firms to identify a senior individual responsible for complaints, abolishing a ‘two-stage’ rule for processing complaints and underlining a requirement to do ‘root cause’ analysis.

The limit on awards made by the Financial Ombudsman Service in relation to complaints will also rise from £100,000 to £150,000 under the plans ‘to provide fairer and more effective redress for customers.’

The proposals were published as the FSA unveiled the collated complaints data for banks in the first half of 2010.

The figures showed a 53 per cent increase in the number of complaints about payment protection insurance.

There was a decrease in the percentage of complaints closed within eight weeks compared to the previous six month period. The total amount paid in redress by banks and building societies increased by 43 per cent to £406million. 

FSA director of conduct policy, Sheila Nicoll, said: “Good complaints handling standards should be the rule not the exception and complaints handling forms a key part of our intensive and intrusive approach to supervise how firms deal with their customers.”

She said a review of this area in April found some good practice but it was clear not enough was being done by senior management to prioritise complaints handling.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd