Joking that she’s been busy in the last six months talking to British Bankers’ Association through lawyers, Financial Ombudsman Service chief executive Natalie Ceeney said she’s happy that finally the battle over payment protection insurance is over.
Speaking at the BBA event in London yesterday, she criticised the bankers about the way they handled the PPI scandal.
“I am sure everyone would agree that the fact we had to end up in a courtroom to decide how we would do consumer redress is wrong”, she said.
The Daily Mail had reported way back in 2006 that PPI was the misselling scandal of the decade, she pointed out. She wondered why it took the industry and the FSA five years to tackle the problem.
“The fact PPI took so long to resolve says to me that things need to change. We need to dramatically change complaints handling”, she observed.
“The FSA has proposed abolishing the two-stage process. You now just have eight weeks to try and put it right. Someone senior is also being made accountable for complaint handling. This is common sense”, she said.
“The best firms in my view treat complaints as insight. They treat complaints under their marketing teams not their compliance departments. If a customer who has a complaint is dealt with well they will speak more positively about you than a customer who has never complained at all, she pointed out.
“I hear consumer groups saying the FSA should have intervened earlier with PPI. The government is saying the regulator should intervene earlier, when there is less detriment and it will cost less to resolve. That is extremely sensible”, she added.
The complaints number data publication has encouraged firms to handle complaints better rather than being named and shamed on the FOS list.
This summer the Ombudsman will consult on how it would publish final decisions, Ms Ceeney said.