April 25 2014 Latest news:

Barclays had more complaints than any other bank taken to the ombudsman in the second half of last year.

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Nearly 12,000 cases were taken to the Financial Ombudsman Service – and as well as topping the overall table, Barclays also had the most complaints relating to payment protection insurance (PPI).

About 85pc of all complaints against the bank were upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service, as opposed to an industry average of 72pc, and 99pc of PPI claims against Barclays were decided in customers’ favour.

It was not the only provider to lose virtually every PPI complaint brought against it. Both MBNA Europe Bank and Lloyds TSB saw 99pc of their customers’ claims upheld, and Black Horse and Bank of Scotland – part of the same banking group as Lloyds TSB – lost 98pc of cases.

At the other end of the spectrum, only 7pc of PPI claims made against Nationwide Building Society were resolved in favour of consumers.

“The proportion of complaints that we have upheld in favour of the consumer – ranging from 6pc to 100pc – clearly highlights the difference in PPI complaints handling across major businesses over this period,” said chief ombudsman Natalie Ceeney.

“It also reflects the efforts made by some businesses to resolve quickly the hundreds of thousands of PPI complaints that had built up during the banks’ unsuccessful PPI legal challenge.

“We now hope to see all businesses who were involved in PPI mis-selling resolving their customers’ complaints fairly, properly and quickly.”

Peter Vicary-Smith, chief executive of consumer group Which?, said: “This data from the Financial Ombudsman Service is further evidence that some banks are systematically failing to treat their customers fairly when things go wrong.

“It is especially unacceptable that tens of thousands of consumers have been forced to take their PPI compensation claims to the ombudsman, where the overwhelming majority of complaints are then upheld.

“This is exactly why we need the Financial Services Bill to create a strong, open and proactive watchdog which not only makes sure that people get proper redress when products are mis-sold, but would ban dodgy financial products before they cause problems.

“In the meantime, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) must take enforcement action against any banks which continue to drag their feet on settling complaints.”

Lloyds TSB had topped the complaints table during the previous six months, but Barclays and MBNA pushed it into third place during the second half of the year.

Overall, complaints about financial services firms dropped by a third over the period, but the ombudsman service said it expected them to rise again this year.

Barclays stressed that although it topped the league table, the number of new complaints made against the bank had fallen.

“We made a commitment to put customers at the heart of our business and improve customer service,” said Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays retail and business banking.

“Tackling complaints is our top priority and these figures show a 36pc reduction in new FOS cases.

“This follows our 30pc year-on-year reduction in FSA reportable banking complaints, and confirms that our actions are delivering results for customers.

“We can and will do more to improve service and go further and faster to drive down complaints.

“We are aiming for further significant reductions in underlying complaints in the first half of 2012 as we continue on our journey to get it right first time, every time, for our customers.”

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