Banks customer-centricity push is paying dividends, says Charter UK.

Tue 6th May 2014

Complaints about financial firms have fallen by 15 per cent according to the latest figures from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

Paul Clarke, CEO of Charter UK, believes the complaints data demonstrates the efforts banks are making to improve their products and services. 

"These latest figures from the FCA – the lowest half-yearly number of complaints since 2006 – clearly show the progress that some banks have made," he said. "However, it has taken the banks years to get their systems and processes fit for purpose to establish a regime of continuous improvement – and there is still more work to be done. 

"The fact that consumer complaints have dropped by 15 per cent is great news for the financial services sector, but that's only part of the story. Overall PPI complaints actually dropped by more than a fifth (22%) compared to the first half of 2013, and business-as-usual complaints have fallen by nearly a quarter (23%) since the second half of 2012. 

"We have long been saying that PPI was skewing the figures and hiding the real progress that banks have been making to take customer feedback into the heart of their business and drive service improvements accordingly. Now that the dead hand of PPI is fading, we can now see clear evidence of the banks' drive to win back consumer trust. 

However Mr Clarke admitted to being "somewhat concerned" that the 50,000 consumer credit firms who came under FCA control on April 1st could have a detrimental effect on the improvements being made in this sector. 

"Under the FCA, these firms are now being required to evidence that they are treating customers fairly and take a forensic approach to the way in which they capture and respond to complaints; that is a radical departure to what they were expected to do under the previous OFT regime," he revealed. 

"As such, I question the preparedness of consumer credit firms to meet these requirements – and wonder whether we will see complaint figures start to rise as the 50,000 extra firms the FCA now has to regulate struggle to meet its expectations and strict conduct rules."