Britain's most complained about banks

Cash machinePPI once again tops the list of complaints to the ombudsman while Lloyds and Barclays are revealed as the most complained about high street banks.

The mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) remains the top reason we complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and made up 63% of complaints in the first six months of the year.

During this period the FOS received a total of 135,170 new complaints, a 27% rise from the previous six months, and 85,562 of these were to do with PPI.

The response rate to PPI complaints during this time was high and 71% of all cases were upheld in favour of the individual.

Complaints data
The Ombudsman publishes its complaints data every six months detailing individual businesses.

When looking at individual banks, top of the list for new complaints was Barclays with 23,703 between January and June. Next was Lloyds TSB with 12,235 followed by MBNA with 9,187.

When comparing the data from July to December 2011 there was an increase in complaints to nearly all the banks. Those to Barclays rose the highest and were up by 12,179 in this time.

Banking groups
However, what's interesting is that when you look at the banking groups, five had more than 8,000 complaints each.

Lloyds comes out top following a similar pattern to news last week published by the banks themselves about complaints data.

In total the Lloyds banking group, which includes brands such as Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows and Halifax, received 27,745 new complaints. This is a rise from 20,310 from the previous six months while (as a group) Barclays wasn't much better with a total of 24,457 new cases.

The top ten most complained about banks


Number of complaints Jan – July 2012

Difference from the previous six months

Those relating to PPI

Barclays Bank Plc




Lloyds TSB Bank Plc




MBNA Europe Bank Limited




Bank of Scotland Plc (part of the Lloyds group)




HSBC Bank plc




Black Horse Limited (part of the Lloyds group)




Capital One (Europe) plc (part of the Lloyds group)




Santander UK




Nationwide Building Society




National Westminster Bank Plc (part of Royal Bank of Scotland)




*source: FOS

What is PPI?
This type of insurance policy, which is bought to cover repayments of a loan should you become ill or unemployed, has dominated the headlines over the past couple of years. This is because thousands of policies were mis-sold and the banks have had to pay out millions in compensation to rectify this.

Although it's free and easy to apply for PPI compensation if you think you've been mis-sold, thousands of claims management firms have popped up offering to do this for people – for a fee.

These companies have also been accused of filing thousands of false claims with little evidence which has added to the number of PPI cases the banks are dealing with.

How to complain to the FOS
Nearly everyone I know has cause for complaint about their bank and if you're in this situation the first port of call is going to the bank directly.

Get the name of everyone you speak to and document all the conversations. You can then complain to them in writing and you'll have to wait up to eight weeks for a response. If you've not heard anything by then, or you're not happy with the response you have had, you can head to the FOS.

It will look into your complaint for you after you've sent off all the details and if the complaint is regarding PPI you'll need to include an extra PPI customer questionnaire.

Is your bank in the top 10 list and if not should it be? Let us know in the comments box below.

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