The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and National Westminster Bank (NatWest) in the amount of £2.8m for multiple failure to handle customers’ complaints and to adequately respond to more than half the complaints reviewed by the Authority.
Specifically, the FSA found the two banks to have incurred delay in responding to customers; to have poor quality investigations in relation to gathering and considering all appropriate information needed to make the decision; to have issued letters which did not fully address the concerns raised by customers; and to have failed to make sure that customers receive their Financial Ombudsman Service referral rights within the appropriate time period.
The FSA likewise ruled that the two banks failed to give the complaint handling staff adequate training on how to property investigate a complaint. The monitoring of the staff was also ineffective particularly in the assessment whether customers were treated fairly. The banks also failed in making sure that the complaint handlers take all the relevant factors before they review the complaints.
The failings in the complaints handling processes of RBS and NatWest were uncovered during the FSA’s review of complaints handling in the UK’s major retail banks. RBS and NatWest have co-operated fully with the investigation, accepting the findings at an early stage and have agreed to make significant changes to their complaints handling arrangements. For this, they qualify for a 30% reduction in penalty.