BANKS have been named and shamed for the first time for their poor handling of customer complaints.
The banks publicly identified by the Financial Services Ombudsman include AIB, Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland, Bank of Scotland and Danske Bank.
The six all feature in the top 10 financial institutions that were the subject of most complaints by customers in the last three months of last year.
Bank of Scotland is no longer operating in this market but still has mortgages here, while Danske is pulling out of retail banking here.
The revelations come after Ombudsman Bill Prasifka got new powers in September to name and shame errant institutions.
This prompted a rush by banks and other finance firms to settle claims made by consumers to avoid the glare of bad publicity.
If this had not happened, it is thought that were would have been far more than the 165 from 15 different banks and finance firms that were named for the first time.
Mr Prasifka said: “It has been our experience since September, that many FSPs (financial service providers) have sought to more actively manage their complaints handling as a result of our ability to identify the complaints record of individual FSPs.
“This is a positive outcome for consumers and is to be welcomed.”
Campaigners had been seeking powers for years to have finance firms named when they get large numbers of complaints.
The company that took over credit card company MBNA, Avant, ended up topping the league of shame with 33 complaints upheld against it, or partly upheld, in the last three months of last year.
All complaints were about payment protection insurance, often sold to people who did not need it, and sometimes consumers were unaware they had it.
The Central Bank has told Avant and 10 other institutions to review their sales of payment protection policies.
Last October, it emerged that €25m was being returned to customers of 11 financial institutions after it was found that one in five of the policies had been sold in breach of Central Bank rules.