The Financial Ombudsman Service today releases the latest six-monthly complaints data relating to banks, insurers and other financial businesses. The figures show that the ombudsman took on a total of almost 150,000 new cases in the last six months of 2016.

While there is a slight overall decrease compared to the first half of last year, reflecting fluctuating packaged bank account and PPI complaints, the figures illustrate what an unsettled environment it is.

  • Complaints about packaged bank accounts have fallen by around half to 9,100 – we’ve been working closely with businesses and claims managers to reduce unnecessary complaints.
  • General insurance has seen an increase in complaints – up 5% to almost 18,000 when compared to the first half of 2016.
  • Payday lending complaints have increased by around 22% to just over 5,000 when compared to the first half of 2016.
  • PPI continues to be the most complained about product with just over 78,000 complaints – making up over half of all complaints to our service.

234 businesses feature in the complaints data for the July to December 2016 period. Most of the businesses named in the complaints data for the first time are payday lenders or debt collectors. The average uphold rate (where the ombudsman found in the consumer’s favour) over the six-month period was 42% – and ranges from 6% to 87% across the individual businesses.

Chief ombudsman Caroline Wayman said:

There’s a widespread feeling that we’re living in unsettled times, and money issues are often at the heart of people’s concerns. At the ombudsman service, the data we publish often show patterns of volatility and change. Lots of factors can influence the complaints we see.

PPI complaints are down, but there are some suggestions that this could be the calm before the storm. The FCA’s proposals – including the PPI deadline – are likely to heavily influence our complaints volumes.

But whatever fluctuations we see in the future, it will remain as important as ever for us to share our insight – to help businesses resolve problems thoughtfully, carefully and with a human touch.

Look at the complaints data now available on individual financial businesses.