L&G mortgage complaints up 900%

Carmen Reichman
Written By:
Carmen Reichman

Banks account for the lions share of consumer mortgage complaints in H1, with Bank of Scotland, Santander, and Barclays topping the table, but Legal & General (L&G) saw a big spike in complaints serious enough to end up with the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman’s half-yearly complaints data showed gripes rose 916% on the previous six months and 760% on the first half of last year.

The firm amassed 447 complaints in the period – considerably fewer than the Bank of Scotland’s 1,062, while its uphold rate was lowest of the five listed firms, at 11%.

The FOS said the complaints are mainly to do with advice provided at the point of remortgage and are in the early stages of investigation.

L&G said last month it is considering launching lifetime mortgages as more retirees eye equity release to fund their income.

Overall, the most complained about business groups were the top banks, which all saw a fall on previous periods.

The FOS took on 191,129 new cases in total in the first half of 2014, 70% of which were made up of payment protection insurance (PPI) claims.

For complaints about financial products other than PPI, the total number of cases referred to the ombudsman was 3% higher than the second half of 2013 (57,310 compared to 55,747).

This included banking complaints increasing by 7% and insurance cases by 1%, the FOS said.

The average uphold rate over the period was 57%, up from 51% during the previous six months.

Chief ombudsman Caroline Wayman said: “Responsibility for sorting out the mass mis-sale of PPI is still the major part of the ombudsman’s workload. But during the first half of 2014 there’s been a marked change in the type of complaints consumers are asking us to resolve – as underlying attitudes become more entrenched and the issues involved get more complex.

“We’re hearing growing dissatisfaction from people about being processed industrially as a number rather than being listened to as an individual customer.

“By giving their customers more thoughtful, considerate and personal responses – clearly setting out the reasoning behind an individual decision – we know that businesses can help sort out problems earlier on, prevent complaints being escalated to the ombudsman and rebuild trust and confidence more generally.”