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Barclays Received Most U.K. Bank Customer Complaints, FCA Says

Barclays Plc topped the list of the most-complained about U.K. financial institutions in the second half of last year, according to data compiled by the markets regulator.

The bank, based in London, received 414,302 complaints, a six percent decrease from the first half of 2012, the Financial Conduct Authority said in an e-mailed statement today. Lloyds TSB Bank Plc was second with 349,386, a 19 percent decline.

U.K. banks have been buffeted by a series of consumer scandals in recent years, including improper sales of loan insurance and some derivatives products. The sales of the loan insurance, known as PPI, topped the list of complaints, followed by checking accounts, general insurance products, credit cards, and savings accounts.

“The publication of the complaints data lays bare the track record of the U.K.’s financial institutions when it comes to resolving customer conflicts,” FCA Chief Executive Officer Martin Wheatley said. “When I meet with the bosses of the financial institutions they frequently tell me that they don’t want to be at the top of the table.”

Barclays said in a statement that it is continuing to make improvements to its customer service and has seen complaints fall by 184,000 in comparison to 2010.

“Our sole focus is on helping our customers and getting it right so they don’t feel the need to complain in the first place,” the bank said in a statement. “These actions will make a big difference going forward.”

The overall number of complaints rose 1 percent to more than 3.4 million between July and December last year, while the number of issues raised about banking products decreased to 728,284, the lowest since the second half of 2006, the regulator said.

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