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Bank complaints stats

Saving | Current Accounts

By Justin Modray, published 01 September 2010.
Helpful? 25

Banking groups received over a million complaints during the first half of his year, that’s more than 7,500 complaints a day! Who are the worst offenders?

Based on the latest complaints data published by banks and building societies we seem to be turning into a nation of complainers. But then given the high charges and poor service seemingly peddled by some banks maybe that’s not surprising.

The table below covers banking complaints over the first half of this year, 1 January to 30 June. The figures for closed complaints are higher than usual as they include a lot of bank charges complaints carried over from last year; this has also reduced the proportion of complaints upheld for some institutions.

BankComplaintsAlso includes
OpenClosedClosed within
8 weeks
Upheldper 1,000 accounts
Santander 216,158 469,435 46% 19% 7.7 Alliance & Leicester, Bradford & Bingley & Cahoot
Barclays 195,956 363,358 91% 32% 5.2 Standard Life Cash Savings
Nationwide* 84,474 85,183 99% 16% 3.4 Cheshire BS, Derbyshire BS, Dunfermline BS
Lloyds TSB 103,686 348,700 97% 12% 3.2 Cheltenham & Gloucester
Natwest 67,638 211,050 98% 23% 3.1
Royal Bank of Scotland 24,100 65,640 98% 27% 2.7 Direct Line Savins, The One Account, VirginMoney
HSBC 65,236 192,190 96% 9% 2.7 First Direct
Co-Operative 9,582 17,101 99% 25% 2.1 Smile, Britannia
Bank of Scotland 68,280 246,733 99% 7% 1.9 Halifax, Birmingham Midshires, Intelligent Finance
Yorkshire BS 1,449 1,452 95% 43% 0.5
Skipton BS 439 404 94% 71% 0.4
Coventry BS 287 701 97% 52% 0.1
* data between 05/10/09 - 04/04/10

Interesting to note how the proportion of complaints upheld (i.e. resolved in the customer's favour) varies widely. In part this is due to some banks receiving a higher proportion of complaints over charges (these will have mostly been rejected following the OFT verdict last November), but the variance is still surprising. For example, based on these figures Barclays appears to be more than twice as likely to uphold a complaint versus Lloyds TSB.

Should complaint levels influence your decision when choosing a bank or building society?

For current accounts and credit cards I would say yes. Given these are very active types of account the scope for errors, excessive charges and bad service are higher than less active accounts such as savings. But the overall competitiveness of a particular account should still probably be the driving force behind your decision.

And if you think the wealthy are immune from bad service and excessive charges then you’ll be as surprised as I was to discover that Coutts & Co received 5.5 complaints per 1,000 bank accounts – higher than all but one of the high street banks...

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