UK FCA Complaints Report: What Happened in the Second Half of 2020?

Woman on the phone complaints

The FCA Complaints Repot 2020 highlights concern with business-as-usual financial products.

The industry has made significant strides in reducing Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) complaints by reducing complaints volumes by 93% during the second half of 2020, from 3.71m in H1 to 256 000 in H2.


However, other products saw substantial increases in customer complaints, highlighting concerns in other standard lines of business like current accounts, credit cards, and “other general insurance” products according to the latest complaints data from the Financial Conduct Authority.


Excluding PPI, overall complaints increased by 3.3 % (60 000) to 1.93m in 2020 H2 when compared with 2020 H1, specific product categories saw significant increases underscoring that core business operations are taking the strain where businesses are not meeting customer expectations.


“This data highlights potential concerns with specific financial products, mainly with standard banking products,” notes Matthew Westaway, co-founder and CEO of Voyc.


Voyc is Conversation Intelligence and Compliance Monitoring AI-powered software that helps firms in the financial services industry identify complaints, and sends alerts to businesses to enable quick resolution and remediation where necessary. This ensures fewer escalations become formal complaints and creates operational capacity to focus on business improvements that will help avoid complaints occurring in the first place.


Complaint increases can be seen within most products but mainly within current accounts, credit cards and “other general insurance” in H2.


The most complained about products in H2 were current accounts at 23%, PPI at 12%, credit cards at 11% and “other general insurance products” at 11%.


Complaints about Mortgage products increased to 9.6 from 8.1 complaints per 1,000 balances outstanding. According to the report, complaints about Investment /savings products increased to 1.9 from 1.8 complaints per 1,000 accounts.


The banking industry saw the most significant increase in customer complaints, with current account complaints increasing by 130% to 23% in 2020 from 10% in 2019. Credit cards saw the third-largest jump in customer complaints with an 83 % increase to 11% from 6% year on year.


 The insurance industry followed by a close second, with “other general insurance” complaints increasing by 120% to 11% in 2020 from 5% in 2019 in H2.
The data shows that firms have taken significant steps to improve positive customer outcomes in the PPI category during the pandemic. It’s also fair to say that creating operational capacity can improve a business’s ability to really address the considerable spike in complaints received for the standard products.
As more and more customers worked from home and wanted to move to the countryside with recent stamp duty concessions to home purchases of up to £500,000 until March this year, the increased demand for Mortgages increased complaints in this category. Serious consideration should be taken to ensure smooth access to Mortgage products for new home buyers so that they can take advantage of these opportunities.

Others may be challenged by the economic fall-out of the strict lockdowns in the UK with over-indebtedness.


 “The financial services industry should make the most of opportunities to improve customer experience during the pandemic, especially for those who may have become vulnerable and in need of further assistance,” said Westaway. “The data underscores opportunities to improve customer experience.”
He noted that helping customers at multiple points within their purchasing or servicing journey can all lead to improving overall customer experience. Addressing over-indebtedness through repayment breaks or reduced payment terms, or more accessible access to Mortgages will help provide positive customer outcomes for all customers.
“With increased regulation, we help your business identify and monitor customer complaints, identify vulnerable customers and create operational capacity for your business to focus on improvements that drive positive customer outcomes,” concludes Westaway.
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