RBS and Natwest fined £2.8m over complaint handling

12 January 2011

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and the Natwest Bank have been fined a total of £2.8 million by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for their handling of customer complaints.

According to the FSA, the two financial institutions demonstrated “multiple failings” in the way they dealt with client issues.

More than half of the complaints handled by RBS and Natwest were found to have been administered incorrectly, the FSA investigation discovered.

Almost two-thirds of complaint responses did not adhere to the regulator’s rules on timeliness, more than half were deemed “deficient” and nearly a third did not lead to a fair outcome for customers.

Margaret Cole, the FSA’s managing director of enforcement and financial crime, said: “We expect firms to treat customers fairly and that consumers can be confident that their complaints will be dealt with properly.

“The failure of these two high street banks to deal adequately with complaints put consumers at unacceptable risk and the fine of £2.8 million reflects this.”

Further findings from the regulator’s investigation discovered that complaint handling staff were not trained correctly or provided with sufficient guidance on how to do their jobs correctly.

The co-operation of both banks and their agreeing to settle the investigation at an early stage led to a 30 per cent discount being applied to the penalty.

By Jim Ottewill

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