Complaints increased in second half of 2009

The number of complaints against mortgage firms rose in the second half of 2009, with complaints relating to arrears handling jumping by more than 10,000 compared with the first half of the year.

Companies are required to report to the Financial Services Authority every six months and divulge the number of complaints they have received, as well as how these have been handled.

The regulator’s latest figures show arrears complaints rose from 39,226 in H1 2009 to 50,004 in H2.

Mortgage lenders Kensington and GMAC-RFC have been fined in the past by the FSA for their treatment of borrowers in arrears.

The regulator also fined and banned former Northern Rock deputy chief executive David Baker and credit director Richard Barclay for misreporting mortgage arrears figures, leading to calls from the Building Societies Association for greater supervision of arrears handling.

The FSA’s data also shows that complaints about credit-impaired mortgages increased from 1,808 in H1 to 2,573 in H2.

There were 13,232 complaints made against mortgage firms in H2 compared with 12, 634 in H1. A total of 4,185 complaints were upheld against mortgage firms in H2, representing 34% of all complaints – up from 3,802 in H1 2009.

Overall, 49% – 51,611 – of com-plaints to do with home finance companies were resolved, including those supplying equity release products, credit-impaired mortgages and other regulated mortgages.

But complaints against equity release business were down from 428 to 383.

The overall number of com-plaints rose to 2.6 million, with complaints about banking products rising to 2,014,371, mainly due to backdated complaints relating to unauthorised bank charges.

The total amount of redress paid by firms was £284m, with the largest amount being for general insurance and pure protection deals, at £144m.