Barclays customer complaints fall in first quarter

LONDON Wed May 28, 2014 12:17pm EDT

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LONDON May 28 (Reuters) - Barclays received fewer customer complaints in the first quarter, reflecting a decline in cases relating to mis-sold loan insurance, but general banking and mortgage complaints rose, the British bank said on Wednesday.

The bank said total complaints dropped to 145,500 from 210,000 in the same period the year before.

Less customers are now complaining about the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI), for which Barclays has already set aside nearly 4 billion pounds ($6.7 billion) in compensation.

Banks in Britain have so far set aside more than 20 billion pounds for PPI compensation. The policies were supposed to protect borrowers against sickness or redundancy, but were often sold to those who would have been ineligible to claim.

Britain's financial regulator said on Wednesday that banks paid out 350 million pounds in PPI compensation in March, and that a total of 14.7 billion has been handed out so far since banks started paying compensation in 2011.

Barclays said complaints excluding PPI rose by 10 percent to 51,000. That included a 43 percent rise in mortgage complaints, which the bank blamed on an increase in its market share.

"Whilst total complaints are down, we've seen a modest rise in banking complaints this quarter and accept that these numbers reflect historic issues we face as a bank," said Matt Hammerstein, head of client and customer experience. ($1 = 0.5952 British Pounds) (Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Susan Thomas)

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