British watchdog fines Royal Bank of Scotland

11th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

State-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland and one of its units have been fined a combined £2.8 million for failing to adequately handle customer complaints, Britain's financial sector watchdog said Tuesday.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said it had fined RBS and NatWest bank the equivalent of 3.4 million euros or $4.4 million "for multiple failings in the way they handled customers' complaints."

The watchdog added that the pair responded "inadequately to more than half the complaints" that it reviewed.

The FSA found that the retail banks did not provide staff with adequate training and guidance on how to properly investigate a complaint, among other failings.

Margaret Cole, the FSA's managing director of enforcement and financial crime, said: "We expect firms to treat customers fairly and that consumers can be confident that their complaints will be dealt with properly.

"The failure of these two high street banks to deal adequately with complaints put consumers at unacceptable risk and the fine of £2.8 million reflects this."

The FSA said that RBS and NatWest had co-operated fully with the investigation and had agreed to make significant changes to their complaints handling arrangements.

In a separate statement, RBS said that the FSA probe had highlighted "short-comings" in its procedures that the bank was "committed to putting right."

© 2011 AFP

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