Clydesdale Bank has been slapped with the largest PPI-related fine in the FCA's history – nearly £20.7m - for “serious failings” in the way it handled complaints.
The bank implemented “inappropriate policies” and provided false information to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) between May 2011 and July 2013, the FCA said.
Because of the way complaints were handled, up to 42,200 out of a total of 126,600 may have been unfairly rejected, while a further 50,9000 upheld complaints may have resulted in “inadequate redress” for the customer.
The FOS had requested evidence of Clydesdale's records on PPI sold to individual customers, but a team altered some of the printouts to make it look as though the bank had no relevant documents, and deleted all PPI information from a separate print out that listed the products sold to the customer.
The wrongdoing was carried out by “a team withint Clydesdale's PPI complaint handling operation” - senior management were not aware of the matter, the FCA said. Clydesdale settled at an early stage of the investigation, reducing the fine by 30 per cent from a £29.5m penalty.
Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA said: “Clydesdale’s failings were unacceptable and fell well below the standard the FCA expects.
“The fact that Clydesdale misled the Financial Ombudsman by providing false information about the information it held is particularly serious and this is reflected in the size of the fine.
“We have been very clear about how firms should treat customers who may have been mis-sold PPI. In ignoring documents it held which were relevant to its customers’ complaints, Clydesdale failed to treat its customers fairly.”
Clydesdale will review all PPI complaints handled prior to August 2014 and offering redress to any customers impacted by these failings. Clydesdale will be contacting all affected customers in due course.