Delivering for our customers in 2023
With thousands of claims processed and millions paid in compensation to customers, 2023 was another challenging but rewarding year for the FSCS Customer team. Across the calendar year, a total of 61 financial firms were declared in default and we made 40,197 claim decisions for 27,145 customers. FSCS Chief Customer Officer, Sarah Marin, tells us more.
At the start of this year, I wanted to take some time to reflect on our achievements over the past 12 months.
January – March
We kicked off 2023 with a number of important planning sessions to determine how we continue to best serve our customers for the future. Although we will continue to work with outsourced partners, we’ve made the decision to increase our in-house team of experts to manage the complex claims and enquiries that now make up the majority of our work.
February saw the launch of the British Steel pension redress scheme for customers who had received poor advice to transfer out of the scheme. In collaboration with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Financial Ombudsman Service, we delivered a number of process and system changes as well as creating a dedicated team to support affected customers. In February alone we issued 141 decisions to customers of the scheme.
A standout in March was our support and dedication for the resolution of Silicon Valley Bank, which involved collaboration from more than 30 colleagues from across the organisation as well as regulators including the Bank of England, PRA and FCA. We followed our dedicated protocols for this kind of event, with colleagues working through the night and across the weekend to ensure the best outcomes could be met. In the end our services weren’t required as a result of a private sector purchase by HSBC, but I was very proud of our adaptability, professionalism and the support we gave to all those involved.
April – June
The start of the 2023/24 financial year saw the introduction of a new defined benefit (DB) transfer redress methodology from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which resulted in 166 updates to our systems, processes and procedures. This is the largest single set of changes that we have ever had to make to our pension processes, so it was vital that they were implemented with extreme care and attention to detail.
In May we saw an amazing result for our Contact Centre, with them receiving feedback of 100% ‘Contact Quality’ for our channels (phone, email, and webchat). This is a testament to the hard work of the team and their drive to continually deliver outstanding customer service.
At the midpoint of the year in June, we registered our highest ever average customer satisfaction (CSAT) score of 90, an achievement we are all extremely proud of. This was the result of a collective endeavour to improve our CSAT scores. We continue to see high ratings among our vulnerable customer population, and there are visibly increasing levels of customer satisfaction stemming from customer contact and communication.
July – August
Something I am particularly proud of was the support we provided to eight vulnerable customers in relation to a firm failure in July. We immediately started to consider what support we could provide as quickly as possible, within FSCS’s rules, and we were able to implement methods that ensured we could act promptly for customers experiencing extreme hardship.
In August we worked through the failure of Hastings & Rother Credit Union (trading as 1066 Community Bank). With any failed firm we always try to reach as many potential customers as possible to ensure that they are aware that their provider has gone out of business and that they may be eligible to claim compensation via FSCS. In this case, a member of my team - Samantha - went above and beyond by taking part in radio interviews local to Hastings & Rother Credit Union to make sure the news spread as far as possible to the relevant people.
September was a very busy month for the Customer team as a whole, with the highest number of claims decisions for the year being made in that month. Another significant highlight for me was the Deposits team’s handling of the failure of 6 Towns Credit Union, a firm based in the West Midlands. This was the largest failure the team has processed within the last three years. We successfully navigated through many challenges along the way and were able to ensure that compensation could be paid to the firms’ customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.
October – December
In October, following the creation of a capability roadmap for our general insurance claims, we began the design of a new technology platform to support our existing and future insurance customers. Insurance claims represent 40% of the compensation we pay each year, therefore it is essential that we optimise the way we process these claims.
In November, a number of teams worked together to update our appeals policy. The new policy will apply from 21 February 2024 and includes the introduction of a three-month time limit. The changes strike a good balance: maintaining the importance of the appeals process whilst also ensuring FSCS works efficiently and promptly in making claims decisions.
The final achievement I would like to celebrate is the delivery of our core platform to enable electronic payments for customers in the event of a bank or building society insolvency, which we completed on 1 January 2024. This is a considerable accomplishment for FSCS, our industry and for our customers, and positions us to offer new ways to pay compensation faster in future.
The year ahead
I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at FSCS who has contributed to these achievements for their hard work over the past 12 months – and I am excited about what we will achieve together in 2024.