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Barclays Joins Lloyds as Most-Complained About Banks, FCA Says

Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc received the most customer complaints of financial services firms in the U.K. during the first half of the year, the markets regulator said.

Barclays reported 370,733 complaints, the Financial Conduct Authority, based in London, said today. Lloyds received the second-highest number of complaints with 253,735. Bank of Scotland Plc, a unit of Lloyds, also faced 222,249 complaints.

“We expect firms to put their customers at the heart of their business -- an important part of this is the way they handle customer complaints,” said Martin Wheatley, the FCA’s chief executive officer. “Publishing complaints data is a powerful tool that helps encourage competition between firms to improve their service to customers.”

Consumer complaints reported to the FCA by firms fell by 500,000 in the first half of this year from the previous six months to 2.9 million. Just over half of the issues raised were upheld and 2.55 billion pounds ($4 billion) in compensation was paid to consumers, the regulator said.

Ashok Vaswani, the CEO of Barclays’s retail and business banking, said the number of complaints the firm receives is “reducing sustainably.” The bank will publish complaints data every three months “with additional information on how we are tackling their root causes,” Vaswani said in an e-mailed statement.

Complaints over the sale of payment-protection insurance, or PPI, accounted for 81 percent of claims, Lloyds said in a statement.

“As a group, we now receive fewer banking complaints per thousand accounts than any other major bank,” said Martin Dodd, customer service director at Lloyds.

To contact the reporter on this story: Suzi Ring in London at sring5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lindsay Fortado at lfortado@bloomberg.net

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