Lloyds tops list of most-complained about banks
The Ombudsman dealt with 40,500 Lloyds TSB Bank complaints across all categories between 1 July and 31 December 2013, and found in the consumer's favour in 54% of them.
Behind Lloyds TSB in the list was fellow Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) subsidiary Bank of Scotland, which received 39,134 complaints (43% of which were upheld).
Barclays was third in the list of individual banks with 36,506 complaints, of which 77% were upheld in the consumer's favour.
The number of complaints received by the Ombudsman about Lloyds TSB and Bank of Scotland were high enough to propel parent LBG to become the most complained about group in the latter half of 2013.
In total, there were 190,356 complaints about PPI during the period, making up 76% of the Ombudsman's workload.
In a statement, Lloyds Group said that while PPI complaints accounted for 78% of all the complaints it received in the second half of 2013, the figure was down 60,000 compared with the first half of the year.
It said it "continues to proactively manage the issue of PPI complaints in order that customers can receive redress if they have been mis-sold. This is an ongoing process and we will continue to review all claims in an in-depth manner that produces fair outcomes for customers".
Excluding PPI, the number of complaints made to the Ombudsman about financial products was 8% lower than the first six months of 2013 (55,747 compared to 60,807). Banking complaints fell by 11% over the period and insurance cases by 7%.
Chief ombudsman Tony Boorman said: "The extraordinary volumes of financial complaints we saw in 2013 now look as if they're starting to level off at last – and that has to be welcome news for everyone.
"But we're still a long way from being able to say that PPI is sorted once and for all. Over 1,000 people every day are still asking us to sort out PPI problems that they've not been able to resolve directly with their bank."
He added: "Away from PPI, there are further signs of improvement, with fewer cases suggesting good news. But in far too many cases uphold rates remain stubbornly high, highlighting the need for financial businesses to do more to demonstrate their longer-term commitment to listen to customer's concerns as they seek to rebuild trust."
The average uphold rate whereby the ombudsman found in the consumer's favour over the last six months of 2013 was 51.
Group customer service director Martin Dodd added: "Throughout 2013 we have continued to make significant progress on customer complaint handling. Our aim remains to reduce the cause of customer complaints in the first place. However, this data from the FOS does show that where things have gone wrong, we've been able to resolve things quickly and with a fair outcome. This year, we'll strive to maintain our position as the bank that receives the fewest complaints, relative to the number of customers, of all major providers."
Payment protection insurance is designed to cover you should you fall ill, have an accident or lose your job and can’t make repayments on loans or credit cards. However, research by consumer watchdogs found the cover to be overpriced, filled with exclusions (policies exclude self-employment, contract employees and pre-existing medical conditions) and were often mis-sold because the exclusions were never fully explained. In May 2011, the High Court ruled banks had knowingly mis-sold PPI and ordered them to compensate around two million consumers.
If you’ve have a complaint about a financial service product you have bought but the company you bought it from refuses to resolve your problem after eight weeks, the Ombudsman can help. The Ombudsman will investigate and resolve the matter. The Ombudsman is independent and its service is free to consumers. The Ombudsman may find in the company’s favour but consumers don’t have accept its decision and are always free to go to court instead. But if they do accept an Ombudsman’s decision, it is binding both on them and on the business.