A recent report from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed that in the first half of 2015, the number of complaints to banks from current account holders went up by almost a third.
Across the first six months of this year, the FCA recorded 506,326 complaints from current account holders ñ over 30% more than the equivalent figure for last year. The FCA issued a warning to banks in the UK that they must step up and take positive action to deal with this issue, that they must take serious steps to drive down the number of complaints they receive.
By far the most number of complaints were regarding premium bank accounts, in particular from many customers who have said that they have been signed up to premium services without their knowledge or permission. These customers are saying that they are now paying for extra services (like insurance policies) that they neither need nor want, with even those who did opt in for premium accounts arguing that the insurance products they received actually turned out to be more or less useless.
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) last month released a statement more or less to the same effect as the report released by the FCA. They too noted that the number of complaints regarding premium or packaged current accounts had soared in recent months, with them now handling over 1,000 complaints every week.
Director of strategy and competition at the FCA, Chris Woolard, lamented that "this is the second half-year running that we have seen complaints about banking products rise," adding that "it is clear that firms need to look at the causes for this rise, and where necessary take action to address the causes of this trend."
It is the big banks who are receiving some of the most complaints, the recent reports revealed. Barclays topped the chart by receiving over 140,000 complaints in the first half of this year regarding both their bank accounts and their credit card services. Natwest were not far behind at 96,000.
The banks have said that they have already started taking the necessary steps. A statement released by the British Banking Association claimed that "banks have redoubled their efforts to ensure that any packaged account bought by a customer is right for their individual needs."
It is, however, unclear as to exactly what these efforts might entail, particularly given the ever increasing rate at which complaints are coming in. Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE