Over one thousand complaints are being lodged every day to the Financial Ombudsman Service about the mis-sale of payment protection insurance (PPI), despite 2013 seeing a huge fall in numbers compared to the year before.
The FOS identified that the total quantity of complaints dropped by almost 25% to 248,801 during the second half of 2013, compared to 327,035 during the previous quarter. However, MBNA and HSBC were cited as the only two institutions that garnered a greater level of complaints during the second half of last year compared to the first, and the FOS have argued that whilst the sharp fall during the course of last year is undeniably positive, that nevertheless a great deal more work will need to be undertaken in order to ensure the issue of PPI mis-sale is permanently resolved.
Tony Boorman, Chief of the Ombudsman, said: “The extraordinary volumes of financial complaints we saw in 2013 now look as if they are starting to level off at last ñ 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.”
The data also indicated a huge disparity in the success rate of claims made against different banks, with 77% of the 36,506 complaints lodged against Barclays being upheld whilst just 10% of the 6,436 made against Nationwide proving successful.
Worryingly, the quantity of successful PPI claims fell during the second half of 2013, with the total percentage success rate down to 56%, or 190,356, compared to 75% or 266,228 in the first quarter last year.
The Financial Ombudsman Service have dealt with a multitude of PPI cases over the past few years, with complaints levels getting so high that they have been forced to double their staff to 4,000 in the past 2 years. The frequency of claims has meant that cases have taken as long as 18 months to resolve, though the FOS have argued that as the quantity of claims begins to decrease, so should the time taken to resolve cases. They also moved to allay fears of future staff sackings, identifying that all their staff are on 3 year rolling contracts, and will not fall victim to the lower level of complaints being lodged each year.
Both Lloyds and MBNA have pledged to carry on dealing with PPI cases with the same endeavour as they have done in recent times, and have both highlighted their excellent record in dealing with cases over the past 12 months.
Lloyds said it “continues to get more decisions right about banking complaints than any other major bank”, and that on the basis of complaints to resolution ratio, they were the best bank when dealing with PPI issues.
An MBNA spokesperson said: “A large proportion of these complaints relate to PPI. During 2013, we carried out a significant proactive mailing campaign in order to address this legacy issue quickly and in the right way. As that work is now largely completed, we expect to see these numbers drop significantly in 2014.”