Complaints about UK financial institutions surge

UK Financial Ombudsman body showed on Tuesday that complaints from customers dissatisfied with their financial institutions increased by 41% on the year before. Lloyds received the most complaints among UK financial companies in the second-half of last year. The Ombudsman said the various operations within the Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) – including the likes of Bank of Scotland and Halifax – got 20,310 complaints from July to December last year. Barclays (BARC.L) got more than 11,500 complaints; MBNA Europe got 9,185 complaints while various operations run by rival part-nationalized lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) got more than 6,000 complaints. Most of the complaints were related to the mis-selling of payment protection insurance policies, which led Lloyds to take a 3.2 billion pound provision charge last year to cover having to compensate customers who were mis-sold those products, Reuters reported.

These policies were typically taken out alongside a personal loan or mortgage to cover repayment if the borrower was unable to pay due to unemployment, sickness or accident.
But they were often mis-sold to the self-employed or unemployed people who would not have been able to claim, and were also mis-sold to consumers who did not realize they were taking out such a policy.
Lloyds said it had managed to reduce the number of complaints it had received in 2011 by 24% from a year ago and continued to work hard to improve customer service.
Britain owns 40% of Lloyds and 82% of RBS after bailing out both banks during the 2008 credit crisis.

Amwal Al Ghad