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Customer complaints

Resolving customer complaints quickly and effectively is fundamental to providing good customer service. We ask our employees to welcome any complaints, take ownership of them, and resolve them there and then if possible. Where the issue is more complex, one of our complaint handling experts will take ownership of it. The vast majority of our complaint handlers use a single complaints management system, giving us a streamlined means of managing, escalating and tracking the complaints raised by our customers.

A key priority for the business is to reduce any complaints we receive by addressing the underlying causes. In 2019, we worked to deliver 79 specific initiatives aimed at reducing complaints.

In line with most of our major competitors, overall referrals to the FOS fell by 23% between H1 2019 and H2 2019. In detail, referrals of NatWest fell by 24% and Royal Bank of Scotland by 19%, this was partly due to fewer customers referring PPI complaints with PPI referrals for NatWest falling by 32% and Royal Bank of Scotland by 19%. Over the same period customers referrals of complaints about Everyday Banking fell by 21% for NatWest and 21% for Royal Bank of Scotland.

Comparing our FCA reportable complaints volumes between H1 and H2 2019 on a like-for-like basis (total complaints), NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland reported increases of 30% and 42% respectively. Discounting the impact of PPI, both brands were largely flat between H1 2019 and H2 2019 – a 0.6% fall for NatWest and a 2.8% rise for Royal Bank of Scotland. The PPI Complaint deadline was on 29 August 2019 and an unprecedented volume of complaints were received. These are still being worked through, and we will update the number of complaints opened once this work is concluded.

Change in Outcome rate at Financial Ombudsman
% of cases resolved
H1 2019

NatWest

39

Royal Bank of Scotland

26

Industry

29

Banking and credit group

NatWest

53

Royal Bank of Scotland

47

Industry

46

H2 2019

NatWest

35

Royal Bank of Scotland

27

Industry

35

Banking & Credit product group

NatWest

42

Royal Bank of Scotland

42

Industry

54

% of complaints upheld for Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest (% of cases resolved in favour of customer)

Overall

H1 2019: 66% upheld (Royal Bank of Scotland plc & NatWest plc FCA Reportable complaints combined)

H2 2019: 71% upheld (Royal Bank of Scotland plc & NatWest plc FCA Reportable complaints combined)

Banking and Credit Category (Everyday Banking)

H1 2019: 67% upheld (Royal Bank of Scotland plc & NatWest plc FCA Reportable complaints combined)

H2 2019: 69% upheld (Royal Bank of Scotland plc & NatWest plc FCA Reportable complaints combined)

Defined according to FCA definitions available at https://www.fca.org.uk/data/complaints-data

A referral to the Ombudsman can occur when a financial firm does not provide a reply within eight weeks or the complainant is unhappy with the response. Full details can be found on the FOS website (http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/faq/complain.html)

Source: http://www.ombudsman-complaints-data.org.uk/