Wednesday 30 March 2016 4:23 pm

Complaints to financial services firms dropped in second half of 2015

I'm a reporter at City A.M., mainly covering law, professional services and banking

I'm a reporter at City A.M., mainly covering law, professional services and banking

People were much happier with their financial products in the latter half of last year, or, at the very least, they were quieter about any problems they had.

The number of complaints to financial services firms inched down in the last six months of 2015, mainly driven by a drop in grievances over savings accounts, figures released today by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) show.

New complaints lodged between July and December 2015 decreased to 2.1m, down 1.4 per cent compared with the first half of the year, while the total amount paid out to customers in redress also fell to £1.97bn, down from £1.98bn.

In particular, complaints about savings and other banking dropped to 67,546, down 15 per cent, while complaints about current accounts fell to 454,276, down 10 per cent.

Read more: FAMR finds "clear need for intervention" in financial advice

However, complaints about payment protection insurance, which is the product with the most gripes against it, rose by six per cent to 932,298. Complaints about credit cards also increased by nine per cent to 132,988.

"It is positive to see that the longer term reduction in the volume of complaints has continued into the latest period," said Christopher Woolard, director of strategy and competition at the FCA. "Firms seem to have taken on board our previous feedback on levels of complaints and we are slowly seeing firms address these issues.

"However, firms still need to do all they can to reduce complaints and ensure that they are working in the best interests of consumers."

Read more: FCA boss warns banks could "stop caring" about behaviour

Some of the UK's best known household names in finance also have reason to give themselves a pat on the back, as the volume of complaints at the five most complained about institutions also fell during the second half of 2015. 

Barclays Bank, which has the rather misfortunate honour of being the most complained about firm, received 279,561 complaints in the last six months of 2015, down one per cent compared with the six months before, while complaints received by HSBC Bank toppled 14 per cent to 120,986.

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However, Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, remarked: "This is a worrying rise in PPI complaints. Banks have got to up their game and ensure their customers' claims are dealt with quickly, simply and fairly."