Latest FCA complaints data reveals an improving picture says Charter UK.

Wed 16th October 2013

Consumer complaints reported by financial services firms fell by 500,000 between the second half of 2012 and the first half of 2013.

Data published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) showed 2.9 million complaints were made in the first half of 2013, compared to 3.4 million consumer complaints reported by firms in the previous six months.

Paul Clark, CEO of Charter UK, believes the numbers are clear evidence of the progress that some banks are making with regard to managing customer complaints more effectively and resolving customer issues at first point of contact. 

"It is reassuring to see that the number of overall complaints against banks have dropped again during the first half of this year, especially as they had already fallen by 12% between July and December 2012," he said.

"This is clearly an improving picture, thanks in large part to the banks' hard work and on-going investments in this area."

However, Mr Clark pointed out that there is still a lot of work to be done because of the disparities that exist across the financial services sector with some organisations still doing the bare minimum in order to satisfy regulatory requirements.

"The FCA has made its commitment to consumer protection extremely clear, which means that all financial services firms will need to ensure that rebuilding consumer trust and building goodwill remains a top priority," he stated. 

"It is also worth noting that the FCA is due to take over responsibility for consumer credit from the OFT in 2014, which means that more than 50,000 firms with credit licences will have a single regulator for the first time."

In order to ensure that customer complaints continue to follow this downward trend, Mr Clark urges financial services firms to look very carefully at how they interact with their customers, especially in areas like payday loans and other forms of consumer credit. 

"With principles like Treating Customers Fairly soon to be applicable cross the board, banks will need to be sure that they have stringent processes in place for responsible lending and affordability checks – and also evidence these to the regulator," he warned.