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RBS and NatWest see customer complaints surge once more

Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest saw customer complaints increase by 27% and 24% respectively in the first half of this year.

 
RBS and NatWest see customer complaints surge once more

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) saw customer complaints increase by 27% in the first half of this year. The taxpayer owned bank received 68,414 complaints in the six months to June compared to 53,806 in the second half of 2010.

RBS-owned NatWest saw a 24% increase in complaints, bringing its total from 118,765 to 147,109.

Payment protection insurance (PPI) accounted for a huge 47% and 31% of all complaints about RBS and NatWest – but even if you remove PPI from the equation complaints still rose 11% and 10% for each bank respectively. RBS said earlier this year it has set aside £850 million to pay PPI claims, causing the bank's pre-tax profits to sink by £794 million in the six months to June.

The number of complaints about RBS banking meanwhile has increased by nearly 10,000 since first half of 2010 – up from 24,100 to 33,660. Complaints about NatWest banking have similarly soared in the last twelve months, increasing by more than 28,500. 

The banking giant however claims it has seen a significant drop in complaints in the last two months and expects to see this improvement reflected in the next half yearly results.

Brian Hartzer, chief executive of RBS and NatWest retail bank, said: ‘Through our customer charter we are determined to fix the root cause of complaints and improve our complaint handling’.

‘Since June we have seen a significant drop in complaints as our efforts begin to kick in. We know we must do better still and I am confident we'll see significant improvements in the months ahead,’ he added.

In an attempt to improve customer complaint levels RBS said it was training more than 8,000 staff and had introduced stricter criteria to measure complaints. The bank also claims that customer satisfaction with how complaints are dealt with is also improving as fewer complaints are reaching the Financial Ombudsmen Service (FOS), which in turn is overturning fewer of RBS’ decisions.

Earlier this year RBS reported a 40% increase in customer complaints in the second six months of 2010. Both RBS and Natwest have also recently been fined £2.8 million for poor complaint handling.

In contrast Santander, which is well known for its poor customer service, yesterday reported that it had cut its complaints by a third this year.  

RBS (RBS.L) shares shot up 6.6% to 25.8p today with other bank stocks bouyant following reports that any attempt to force banks to ring fence their retail operations in response to the financial crisis may not be implemented until 2015 at the earliest.

3 comments so far. Why not have your say?

John Howard Norfolk

Sep 01, 2011 at 13:28

Why has this happened? Any ideas?

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Martin Drew

Sep 01, 2011 at 19:20

I tried to pay in a cheque to my RBS branch which was written with my Christian and surname. They said my account was just with my initials and wouldn't accept it. I pointed out my bank debit card was issued by them with my Christian name and surname but they wouldn't have it and refused to accept the cheque. RBS complaints said they can't understand why the branch refused it. My guess is they have made a lot of folks redundant, probably the older more experienced and expensive ones and the branches are now manned with young inexperienced and not so well trained people.

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wickers

Sep 04, 2011 at 13:41

I had the same problems with the Natwest e-save account.

Though a rate of 2.85 was guaranteed ,interests paid were below this rate.

My letters to the local branch and the Leeds office were never answered.

Finally someone phoned and confirmed the rate until a date later this year-

but still no explanation why interest paid was below this rate.

One often remembers the excellent Natwest customer service BEFORE

it was taken over by RBoS.Personal contact with branch managers was

replaced with inexperienced staff and call centres

Wickers

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