The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has published its annual review for 2007/08, which shows that there has been a record number of enquiries and complaints about the quality of the financial services industry in Britain.
In the year ended 2008, the FOS handled a record 794,648 consumer enquiries and 123,089 new complaints (a 30% annual increase).
The number of mortgage and banking disputes tripled and insurance disputes doubled, whilst complaints about mortgage endowments fell by 70%.
The FOS settled 99,699 disputes.
Sir Christopher Kelly, chairman of the ombudsman service, said:
"This time last year we had hoped we were starting to see a downward trend in complaint numbers for the first time. But instead, events during the year have led to the ombudsman service receiving record numbers of new cases.
The sudden surges in banking and insurance disputes this year have meant that predicting, managing and dealing with complaint volumes has been more of a challenge for us organisationally than ever before."
Unsurprisingly there was a ten-fold increase in complaints about charges on current accounts, and a six-fold increase in complaints about payment protection insurance (PPI).
The rising number of complaints shows that the financial services industry in Britain has its work cut out if it is going to improve its image, reputation and quality.
The question is, does the financial services industry really care about quality or its reputation?