The most complained-about banks

Updated: 

Every six months the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) publishes data on which individual financial firms have attracted the most complaints.

The Ombudsman is where you take your complaint if you have already complained to a financial firm but they haven't resolved the issue to your satisfaction. For more on how this process works, read How to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.


The latest figures cover the six-month period from 1st January 2013 to 30th June 2013. They include the number of complaints received against an individual business and the percentage of complaints upheld in the complainant's favour.

Here is how the nation's biggest banks and building societies fared:

Bank/building society

Number of new complaints

Percentage of complaints resolved in favour of the complainant

Bank of Scotland

61,664

80%

Lloyds TSB

59,753

86%

Barclays

43,612

64%

HSBC

14,869

37%

Royal Bank of Scotland

11,268

34%

NatWest

11,222

38%

Nationwide

9,032

11%

Santander

8,539

37%

Clydesdale Bank

5,170

25%

Tesco Bank

2,473

36%

Northern Rock

1,982

35%

Yorkshire Building Society

1,710

6%

Co-operative Bank

1,536

31%

Cheltenham & Gloucester

1,274

27%

Bradford & Bingley

1,121

4%

Northern Bank

1,030

20%

Bank of Ireland

909

30%

Leeds Building Society

448

16%

Skipton Building Society

353

18%



As you can see, it's been a very poor year for Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB. Not only did they attract the most complaints, they were also on the losing side of the Ombudsman's judgement the vast majority of the time. However, when you consider that the average percentage of complaints resolved in favour of the complainant stood at 64% across the financial sector, maybe the banks haven't performed so poorly.

It's also noticeable that the building societies tended to attract fewer complaints and tended to be in the right anyway. Indeed, of the ten financial firms who were right in 90% of cases, six are building societies.

All of the complaints data is available on the Financial Ombudsman Service's website if you want to check how your bank or building society performed.

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What we're complaining about
It should come as no great surprise that payment protection insurance (PPI) continues to be the big area for complaints. Over those six months, 86% of the complaints referred to the Ombudsman centred on this form of insurance, with five financial firms accounting for almost 80% of the new PPI cases.

If you want to complain about PPI mis-selling, don't waste your time and money using a complaints management firm. You can do it all yourself as we explain in How to claim your PPI compensation.
The number of non-PPI complaints actually fell 15%, with the biggest fall in banking and credit complaints. Nonetheless, this area remains the top subject for non-PPI complaints.

Here are the top five most-complained about banks and building societies in each category:

Banking and credit

Bank or building society

Number of new complaints

Percentage of complaints resolved in favour of the complainant

Barclays

5,040

38%

Lloyds TSB

2,878

26%

NatWest

2,815

38%

Santander

2,510

38%

Bank of Scotland

2,343

37%

Average percentage of complaints resolved in favour of complainant for all businesses – 33%

Mortgages and home finance

Bank or building society

Number of new complaints

Percentage of complaints resolved in favour of the complainant

Bank of Scotland

927

28%

Santander

774

26%

Northern Rock

676

31%

Barclays

397

41%

Nationwide

331

24%

Average percentage of complaints resolved in favour of complainant for all businesses – 26%

General insurance (excluding PPI)

Bank or building society

Number of new complaints

Percentage of complaints resolved in favour of the complainant

HSBC

613

5%

Bank of Scotland

390

24%

Barclays

376

46%

Lloyds TSB

346

11%

Santander

217

25%

Average percentage of complaints resolved in favour of complainant for all businesses – 40%

PPI

Bank or building society

Number of new complaints

Percentage of complaints resolved in favour of the complainant

Bank of Scotland

57,680

87%

Lloyds TSB

55,972

90%

Barclays

37,394

74%

HSBC

12,224

45%

Royal Bank of Scotland

9,808

34%

Average percentage of complaints resolved in favour of complainant for all businesses – 75%

Investments

Bank or building society

Number of new complaints

Percentage of complaints resolved in favour of the complainant

Lloyds TSB

262

16%

Barclays

229

56%

Bank of Scotland

155

31%

Santander

130

42%

HSBC

123

53%

Average percentage of complaints resolved in favour of complainant for all businesses – 40%

Life & pensions and decumulation

Bank or building society

Number of new complaints

Percentage of complaints resolved in favour of the complainant

Barclays

176

33%

Lloyds TSB

172

29%

Bank of Scotland

169

29%

Santander

140

33%

HSBC

85

28%

Average percentage of complaints resolved in favour of complainant for all businesses – 28%

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