Commenting on the announcement from the Ministry of Justice that CMC customers will have access to the Legal Services Ombudsman from next year, Chris Lawrenson, Head of Legal Services at the Building Societies Association said;
"This is a major step forward for consumers who have an issue with a CMC. Right now these people can turn to the Ministry of Justice to get their complaints heard, but the Ministry has no power to award financial redress. We welcome the decision to bring CMCs under the umbrella of the Legal Services Ombudsman and hope that consumers will have access to this service as early as possible in 2013.
"The matter is urgent as it is clear that the CMCs operating in the PPI sector are generating by far the most consumer complaints, 74% according the Ministry of Justice. Worse still, the vast majority of these complaints are made against just 15-20 firms out of the 1,000 plus authorised in the financial services category. The BSA would like to know from the Ministry of Justice whether any of these few firms were amongst the 260 CMCs shut down in the last year. If not, why not?
"Looking forward, we trust that the new Ombudsman will take the same approach as the Financial Ombudsman Service and publish complaints data - the names of CMCs with the worst consumer complaints records should be made public as soon as possible for the benefit of consumers."
Tel: 020 7520 5926
Notes for Editors:
1. The Building Societies Association (BSA) represents mutual lenders and deposit takers in the UK including all 47 UK building societies. Mutual lenders and deposit takers have more than 32million customers, total assets of over £375 billion and, together with their subsidiaries, hold residential mortgages of nearly £240 billion, 19% of the total outstanding in the UK. They hold more than £250 billion of retail deposits, accounting for 22% of all such deposits in the UK. Mutual deposit takers account for 34% of cash ISA balances. They employ approximately 50,000 full and part-time staff and operate through approximately 2,000 branches.
2. Photographs of Chris Lawrenson are available from the BSA press office, or from the Association's website at www.bsa.org.uk or Headlinemoney www.headlinemoney.co.uk
3. Follow the BSA on Twitter @BSABuildingSocs
Policy and External Affairs Officer
Building Societies Association
6th Floor, York House