They were the only two active lenders in the top five, with seven of the top ten lenders with more customer complaints either inactive or closed book, highlighting borrowers’ concerns about customer treatment in this sector.
Al Rayan Bank was the most complained about home finance providing institution according to the FCA’s methodology, which takes the number of complaints received per 1,000 customers.
The regulator includes data from firms that report 500 or more complaints within the six month reporting period of July to December, or 1,000 or more for an annual reporting period.
Al Rayan received an average of 76.57 complaints per 1,000 customers in the second half of 2018, with M&S Bank in third place at 60.65.
Blemain Finance, Bradford & Bingley and Standard Life Assurance were the inactive lenders who completed the top five with rates of 66.37, 42.21 and 40.98 complaints per 1,000 balances outstanding.
An M&S Bank spokesperson told Mortgage Solutions: “Delivering the exceptional levels of service our customers have come to know and expect from M&S Bank is our absolute priority and we always act on the insight from these cases.”
Al Rayan highlighted that only 47.3 per cent of complaints were upheld with the majority rejected.
A spokesperson from Al Rayan added: “We take any complaint very seriously. In the case of our home purchase plans, we introduced a new loyalty rate for customers coming out of fixed rate deals.
“This loyalty rate proved very popular with our customers, leading to an increase in complaints.
“We value the feedback received from customers and have taken steps to address any concerns. We are always looking to enhance our processes with the aim of improving customer service.”
Upheld and intermediary complaints
In terms of complaints upheld, high street lenders came to the fore as TSB topped this list, with 82.8 per cent of its complaints upheld by the regulator.
Ulster Bank, Phoenix Life, Coventry Building Society, HSBC and Virgin Money completed the top five, with upheld rates of 78.9 per cent, 77.8 per cent, 76.8 per cent and 75.6 per cent respectively.
Data for home finance intermediary complaints is sparse, with only six intermediaries listed.
Sainsbury’s Bank topped this list with 34.5 complaints per 1,000 sales, followed by London & Country at 17.17 and Connells at 17.09.
Mortgage complaints rising
Home finance complaints per 1,000 balances outstanding rose slightly to 9.8 from 9.6, in contrast to the wider trend.
While home finance only accounts for three per cent of the FCA’s complaints received, the figure is the highest of the five key areas regulated, with only insurance and pure protection coming close with 9.5 complaints per 1,000.
Overall, the FCA noted that complaints decreased by five per cent, falling from 4.13m to 3.91m during the second six months of 2018.
This is the first time the number of complaints has fallen since firms were required to change the way they report complaints, in 2016.
In total 3,181 firms reported receiving one or more complaints during 2018 H2, with 231 of these firms reporting 500 or more. These firms accounted for almost 98% of all complaints reported.
Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) continued to be the most complained about product, making up 40% of all complaints.
This, however, was a decrease of 8 per cent from 1.72m in 2018 H1 to 1.58m in 2018 H2, but there was a change in reporting allowing firms to exclude any where it was established the complainant had not purchased a PPI policy from the firm.
Excluding PPI, total complaints decreased from 2.41m to 2.33m over 2018.
Current accounts complaints, in second place, decreased by 13% over the half-year. By contrast, credit cards, the third most complained about product, saw an increase of 10%.
FCA executive director of strategy and competition Christopher Woolard, said: “It is encouraging to see that complaint figures have dropped and firms are dealing with [issues] more quickly.
“We expect firms to continue to focus on ensuring their customers are well served and that they respond quickly where consumers complain.”