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Private bank Coutts and challenger bank Secure Trust were the most complained-about banks in the UK in the second half of last year, according to new data from the financial regulator.

While the private bank’s customers – which include Queen Elizabeth II – may be expected to hold their bank to particularly high standards, Secure Trust received the same level of complaints about its banking and credit card services, with 15.1 per 1000 customers.

Secure Trust said the high level of complaints was due to the closure of its current account product during the period, which reduced its total customer numbers and increased complaints from those who “were very happy with the service we were providing”.

The company’s chief executive Paul Lynam warned earlier this year that competition between banks was leading to “crazy behaviour” in the unsecured consumer credit market, prompting it to pull out of the market.

Of the UK’s major banks, Royal Bank of Scotland received the most complaints about its banking and credit card services per customer, with 8.8 complaints per 1,000 accounts.

The data, from the Financial Conduct Authority, cover complaints made to firms in the second half of 2016.

In terms of total complaints, Lloyds Banking Group received the most complaints over the period, with a total of 603,877 complaints across all services and arms of the banking group, including 285,882 complaints about banking and credit cards.

In total, 3.04m complaints were reported by firms in the second half of the year; the data are not directly comparable to previous years since the FCA recently changed rules on how complaints are reported.

A total of £1.9bn was paid out in redress to customers over the period, with the vast majority relating to the PPI scandal. £221m was paid in response to banking and credit card complaints.

Christopher Woolard, FCA executive director of strategy and competition, said:

Consumers want a simple way to complain that does not leave them out of pocket. And they want to be assured that their concerns will be dealt with fairly and quickly.

These data will provide us with improved intelligence on complaints including new detailed data to show where industry is potentially failing consumers at product level.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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