Which is the crappest bank? Drumroll please...

30 March 2011

...and they're keeping it

The FSA, responsible for the protection and enhancement of the stability of the UK financial system (and we all know what a good job they’ve been doing recently) has today published a league table of the worst offenders for the number of customer complaints in the last half of 2010.

The far and away winner of the dubious prize is Barclays banking division, with a massive 205,151 complaints, which is over 25% more than the number two on the list, Santander at 165,052, and more than third and fourth place combined (Lloyds TSB and NatWest banks, with 89,811 and 87,271 complaints respectively). Lloyds TSB’s general insurance and protection division made up the last of the top five.

So why are Barclays so bad that they are generating over 1100 official complaints a day, and that’s just on their banking operation- Barclays’ general insurance and protection division came in further down the top ten.

A Barclays spokesman was at pains to point out that they were only the worst in the banking section, and that there were four other sections they could have been worse in. Furthermore, Barclays consider they are moving in the right direction as these figures actually showed a 4% improvement on the previous figures. Whoop de doo.

Barclays’ general insurance division was also worst at closing complaints, with only 65 per cent of cases dealt with in eight weeks- NatWest managed to close 98 per cent of its complaints in the same timeframe.

Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays Global Retail Banking, said: “Barclays is committed to reducing the number of complaints it receives and making substantial improvements to the overall service we provide customers. Our customers can be reassured we are making progress and are taking action to address the reasons our customers complain. Customers can expect to see improvements in our service in 2011.”

While it is good to know that Barclays do not think this is good enough, and that they are, apparently taking steps to “address the root cause” of the problem, we at BitterWallet do not think that a 4% reduction in complaints, which “reflects the work they have put in to customer relations” is, quite frankly, good enough.

With the latest accounts showing a profit before tax on the UK retail banking operations alone of £989m, we think they can afford to be a bit nicer to their customers...


  • Tony P.
    Barclays Muggers - I was one of the 600,000 people making a formal complaint after Barclays stole £790 from my account. They would not give me an answer as to why, but after I asked the Financial Ombudsman to investigate Barclays claimed 'Conditions for Personal Customers' clause 13.11 "We may also change our charges for a valid reason which is not set out above". In my case I've had foreign currency transactions many times in the past with Barclays and they had charged 1.5% over the Bank of England exchange rate. This time they decided to take another £790 in fees. Their 'valid reason': Commercial judgement. I.e. they decided to take more. No notice of increased fees. No explanation to me. They just took it! and pointed to the small print and said they can take whatever they like - so they did! I will let anyone who cares to ask why they should not bank with Barclays. Barclays are muggers in pin stripped suites. Their whole ‘Customer Service’ operation over this issue was one of deceit, incorrect explanations and lies. And they will NOT give the money back.
  • Anne T.
    Voite with your cheque book.. change Bank ASAP.. dont put up with sanctamonious bullshit .to***rs the lot of them
  • callum
    "We were only worst in the banking category out of 5 categories" - well, 1 in 5 wouldn't usually be the end of the world, but a BANK being the worst in the BANKING category doesn't look great...
  • Dee D.
    They should normalise these numbers by the number of customers, and see if the results are the same. Otherwise, a small bank with only 200,000 customers can never be as bad as Barclays, even if every single one of them thought they were a terrible bank. And if people have a problem with their bank ... swicth.
  • Euan
    Would be interesting to see the ratio of complaints to accounts - I know Santander have had some pretty grim ratings for customer service, so slightly surprised to see Barclays steal such a commanding lead. But then I wonder if that's just because Barclays have a load more customers.
  • Shan
    Dear Paul (Smith) I believe you would remember the incident on Santander, which I created blog about ... It was mentioned in your article in bitterwallet.com on 24/03/2011. Here is the latest development:- I was informed by Santander that the formal response regarding the investigations carried out further to my complaint will be sent to the Santander Branch at 26-28 High Street, Sheffield.The e-mail dated 21/03/2011 confirms this. I was told that the letter would be ready for collection, definitely before Friday, 25/03/2011 However, upon visiting this Santander branch and inquiring even on 31/03/2011 (for the second time), I was told that the branch had not received a letter to be given to me. I have written confirmation from Santander Branch at 26-28, High Street, Sheffield that they had not received a letter for me, as promised to me by Santander Head Office Once again Santander has harassed, hassled and inconvenienced me ! Please also visit http://santander-boycott.blogspot.com/ for further details. Once again, they did not even apologise for the inconvenience ! - This is how they treat customers ....
  • Phil
    I have recently moved my account to the Coop Bank. Small bank with a focus on customers and not huge bonus's. I was with Barclays for years and can say I should have done it sooner

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