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Complaints to U.K. Banks Rose 21 Percent, Watchdog Says

Bank complaints in the U.K. rose 21 percent during the second half of last year, driven by an increase in insurance claims, the U.K. financial watchdog said.

Payment protection insurance complaints rose by 85 percent to 977,510 the FSA said in a statement on its website. Barclays Plc received a total of 281,484 complaints while Lloyds Banking Group Plc faced 240,923 total complaints, according to FSA data.

Lloyds posted a wider-than-estimated full-year loss last month due to reimbursing customers for improperly-sold payment protection insurance, or PPI. The British Bankers’ Association, an industry group, lost a court challenge last year to stop the regulator from ordering lenders to pay compensation.

“We want to be the best bank for customers, so getting customer service right is vital,” Martin Dodd, customer services director at Lloyds, said in an e-mailed statement.

Barclays said it had reduced complaints over banking services by 31 percent year on year.

“Complaints are still higher than our customers should expect, but we are on the right track in bringing them down,” Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays retail and business banking, said in an e-mailed statement.

Overall complaints about banking services fell to the lowest level since the second half of 2006, to 787,096, the FSA said.

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