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PPI complaints: Ombudsman faced with 400,000 backlog

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The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) expects "another record year" of resolving payment protection insurance (PPI) disputes but admits it is still sitting on a stockpile of 400,000 unresolved cases.

The service, set up by the Government to help resolve disputes between consumers and UK financial service firms, plans to settle a record 320,000 PPI cases over the coming year but said the “scale of the PPI challenge” means it could be years before the issue is tackled completely.

In a report published today, it said that despite significant investment in staff and resources, about 60,000 cases will take more than 18 months to resolve.

Last year the FOS recruited nearly 1,000 additional staff to deal with PPI cases.

Laying out its plans for the next 12 months, the service said it expects to answer 1.8 million front-line consumer enquiries next year and tackle 64,000 new banking complaints and 32,000 new insurance cases as well as another 150,000 new PPI cases.

The FOS also plans to reduce its budget by 20% over the coming year, from £313.7m spent in 2013/14 down to £251.9m.

Interim chief executive and chief ombudsman Tony Boorman said: “For the last few years our focus has been on building up our capacity to meet the unprecedented challenges of PPI.

“The investment we have made in scaling-up and developing our service is now paying off as we plan for another year of record activity, resolving twice as many PPI cases as we receive. But we’re not out of the PPI woods yet.

“Across all of our work we continue to hear that people’s dealings with financial businesses remain strained, suggesting a lot more work is required to restore consumer trust in financial services.”

In total the FOS has received more than a million PPI cases, of which more than two thirds have been in the last 18 months.

The service is funded by the UK financial services sector through a combination of levies and case fees.

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