Barclays fined £26 million over treatment of customers

  • The Financial Conduct Authority said Barclays has pro-actively redressed these customers, paying over £273 million to at least 1.5 million customer accounts since 2017.
  • The FCA said that Barclays did not dispute its findings and agreed to settle the case, leading to a 30% discount on the fine which otherwise would have been £37.2 million.

Britain's Financial Conduct Authority said on Tuesday it has fined Barclays £26 million ($34.65 million) for failures in how the bank treated customers that fell into arrears.

Banks will take note of the penalty as they brace themselves for a rise in bad loans, with customers struggling to make ends meet in the worst downturn in 300 years due to the pandemic.

The Financial Conduct Authority said Barclays has pro-actively redressed these customers, paying over £273 million to at least 1.5 million customer accounts since 2017 in a program that is close to completion.

Barclays failed to follow its own policies for dealing with customers in arrears by not talking with them to understand why they were unable to make repayments, the watchdog said.

Barclays said it implemented changes once the issue was identified and the vast majority of customers who were affected have already been contacted.

"We would like to apologize to those customers for not providing the level of service we should have," Barclays said in a statement.

The FCA said it requires consumer credit firms to show forbearance and due consideration to customers in arrears or in financial difficulties.

"Otherwise, a customer under financial pressures could end up making payments on a consumer credit loan at the expense of a priority debt, such as a mortgage, council tax, child support and utility bills," the FCA said in a statement.

"The FCA recognizes the challenges firms face in this area due to coronavirus, which only heightens the importance of firms treating customers in financial difficulty fairly and appropriately," the watchdog said.

The FCA said that Barclays did not dispute its findings and agreed to settle the case, leading to a 30% discount on the fine which otherwise would have been £37.2 million.

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