Clydesdale Bank has today been penalised with the largest ever fine imposed by the Financial Conduct Authority for “serious failings” surrounding the mishandling of Payment Protection Insurance. Between 93,000 and 100,000 customers are expected to receive compensation or refunds after their records were deliberately tampered with by Clydesdale’s employees. The bank also adjusted information presented to the FCA between May 2011 and June 2013, concealing the falsified documents. Current chief executive at Clydesdale, Debbie Crosbie, said in a statement: “In 2011, we introduced changes to our policies and procedures that were designed to help us respond to PPI complaints…these changes were inappropriate…I am sorry for that.” The FCA confirmed that the bank’s management were not aware of what had taken place.
During the period in question, 126,600 PPI complaints were made to Clydesdale Bank with only 50,900 customers receiving any compensation. In the FCA’s announcement, it said “up to 42,200 may have been rejected unfairly…Clydesdale’s inappropriate policies meant that…its complaint handlers would not search for any documents on the basis that they fell outside Clydesdale’s seven year retention period”. The bank was initially facing a fine of almost £30 million but agreed to early settlement. Georgina Philippou, acting enforcement director at the FCA said “in ignoring documents it held which were relevant to its customers’ complaints, Clydesdale failed to treat its customers fairly”.