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Banks are 'failing the public'

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) have said the major High Street banks need to improve their approach to customer service, in the light of new reports of poor complaint handling.

As news emerged that the Financial Services Authority had criticised a number of banks for their poor response to complaints, CAS Chief Executive Lucy McTernan said,

 “Last year we revealed that banks in Scotland were failing their customers in a number of ways. e.g. by imposing high charges, failing to explain their fee structures properly and refusing to allow people access to basic bank account services.

 “Altogether there are plenty of things for customers to complain about. Yet now we see that those complaints are not even being handled properly, adding yet another area to the list of ways in which banks are failing the public.

 “Debt and money problems form a huge proportion of the issues people are bringing to the CAB today. Banks should be right at the heart of helping to solve these issues. Instead it seems they are making things worse.

 “Today’s news will come as no surprise to Scotland’s CAB advisers, who speak to banks every day on behalf of their clients. A survey of our advisers published just 2 weeks ago revealed a damning opinion of banks’ approach to customers, using words like ‘aggressive’, ‘cavalier,’ ‘inflexible’ and ‘patronising’.

 “The banks still owe the taxpayer for the massive bail-out that they received when they got into trouble. They need to get their act together and improve their services in return. And they can start by getting their complaints procedures right.”

 For more information on this story, or to set up media interviews, please contact Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010 or 07774 751655.

 NB This is a number for the CAS Press Office – for use by journalists only. If you require CAB advice please contact your local CAB office (see your local phone book or go to