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Less complaints as banks settling

THERE has been a sharp fall in the number of complaints received by the financial services ombudsman last year.

New figures show that Danske Bank, Avant Card (which used to be called MBNA), Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB had the most number of complaints upheld against them.

Changes in legislation two years ago allowed ombudsman Bill Prasifka to name firms that had complaints made against them by consumers and outline if the complaint was upheld.

This new power has prompted financial firms to settle disputes with consumers earlier.

Mr Prasifka, in the annual report for his office, said complaints received in 2014 totalled 4,477, a fall of 42pc on the previous year.

Mortgage issues continue to be the highest driver of complaints, representing almost a third of all complaints received.

Payment protection policy complaints continue to be the main driver of insurance complaints, Mr Prasifka said.

He said the big fall in the number of complaints was down to the publishing of complaint records of individual financial firms.

"More complaints are being dealt with at an earlier stage in the process and settled, and this is a very positive outcome for customers," he said.

Danske Bank generated the most complaints that were upheld. It had 24 consumer complaints upheld against it last year, and four partially upheld.

Other firms on the list include White Horse Insurance, trading as Thomas Cook Group; Ulster Bank; Permanent TSB; Zurich Life; Bank of Ireland; AIB; and Irish Life.