British financial services company, Barclays, has been reportedly charged with a £26 million fine for the poor treatment of clients who had either experienced financial issues or were in debt. Amongst those customers who were dismally treated were bereaved people whose financial problems should have been better evaluated. According to the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), Barclays’ poor treatment of its clientele risked making these difficulties even worse.
FCA’s Mark Steward stated that companies should treat consumer credit customers in a fair manner, including in instances where they find themselves in arrears. Steward has further stated that the regulator will act against unfair treatment, or where clients will be exposed to the risk of unfairness by firm systems. While this case occurred prior to the pandemic, the message stays particularly significant as the impact of coronavirus is persistently affecting household budgets, and incomes, added Steward.
The issues impacted both small business customers as well as individual current account holders between April 2014 and December 2018, cite sources with knowledge of the matter. The regulator found that these customers had been treated inferiorly when they fell behind on their credit repayments. Apparently, these also included individuals whose loved ones had died, and who were not provided with affordable or sustainable debt repayment plans.
The bank has provided compensation to those affected, by making a payment of more than £273 million to 1.53 million clientele accounts since 2017. The FCA stated that Barclays was aware of several of the glitches in its controls and systems as early as 2013, however failed to effectively resolve them in late 2018.
As stated by a Barclays spokeswoman, Barclays is a responsible lender and strives to secure good outcomes for its customers. The company would like to apologize to those clients for not offering the level of service that it should have provided, added the spokeswoman, stating that the bank has made the relevant changes to its trainings, systems, and processes for correcting the issues and a broad majority of clients who were affected have already been contacted.
Source credit: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55317413