FOS figures hide improvements banks are making, says complaints expert

Tue 3rd September 2013

Banks have come under fire after the latest Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) complaints data revealed that banking complaints increased by 15 per cent in the first half of 2013. 

However Paul Clark, CEO of Charter UK, says that whilst at first glance FOS's half year complaints data may appear to be negative, it's important to acknowledge that more than 8 out of 10 (86 %) of these complaints were PPI-related. 

"From our experience, we know that best practice in complaints management is about understanding the root cause of customer dissatisfaction and using this insight to improve," he said. "The root cause of the PPI scandal has long been established, but it will still take a while to work through the backlog of cases.

"However, for new complaints, the ability and willingness of banks to take a best practice stance is clearly improving. When we put PPI to one side, the fact that banking complaints have fallen by 22 per cent in the past six months demonstrates that banks are improving their customer services and complaint handling, even if this progress is hidden behind a smokescreen of PPI complaints. 

"Whilst there is still a long way to go, the data released today should be seen as a clear indication that the industry is heading in the right direction."

Natalie Ceeney, Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman of FOS, said that it was disappointing that FOS was still seeing cases where businesses were not following its long-standing approach to PPI, resulting in long waits and unnecessary delays for consumers.

However she added that it was positive to see that banks are making strides. "We are seeing encouraging signs from some major businesses that are starting to recognise the value of getting things right for their customers – with an increased focus on sorting out problems and concerns as quickly as possible."