National Australia Bank's British bank (Clydesdayle) recently received a record fine nearing $40 million for lying to the United Kingdom's Financial Ombudsman Service as well as adopting inappropriate complaint policies.
The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued the landmark fine and acting director of enforcement and market oversight, Georgina Philippou, said Clydesdale failings were unacceptable and fell well below the standard the FCA expects.
"The fact that Clydesdale misled the Financial Ombudsman by providing false information about the information it held is particularly serious and this is reflected in the size of the fine," she said.
"We have been very clear about how firms should treat customers who may have been mis-sold PPI. In ignoring documents it held which were relevant to its customers' complaints, Clydesdale failed to treat its customers fairly."
The FCA report said in mid-2011 Clydesdale implemented inappropriate policies which meant that its PPI complaint handlers were not taking into account all relevant documents when deciding how to deal with complaints.
In addition, between May 2012 and June 2013, Clydesdale provided false information to the Financial Ombudsman Service in response to requests for evidence of the records Clydesdale held on PPI policies sold to individual customers.
"A team within Clydesdale's PPI complaint handling operation altered certain system print outs to make it look as if Clydesdale held no relevant documents and deleted all PPI information from a separate print out listing the products sold to the customer. These practices were not known to or authorised by Clydesdale's PPI leadership team or more senior management," a FCA statement said.
As a result of Clydesdale's conduct, of the 126,600 PPI complaints decided between May 2011 and July 2013, up to 42,200 may have been rejected unfairly and up to 50,900 upheld complaints may have resulted in inadequate redress for customers.
Clydesdale will be reviewing all PPI complaints handled prior to August 2014 and offering redress to any customers impacted by these failings.
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