HSBC customers paid share of compensation worth £185 million

HSBC customers have been paid compensation worth £185million after being treated "unfairly". HSBC has been fined £6.2m by the City watchdog after it found the bank failed to help customers in financial difficulties.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said the lender failed to consider customers' circumstances when they missed a repayment or sometimes "took disproportionate action". The FCA said the bank put "1.5 million people at risk of greater financial harm" through its actions.

HSBC said: "We have invested in our processes since these matters came to light and are pleased to have resolved these historic issues with the regulator.” HSBC - which also provides financial services for M&S Bank - did not consider customers' circumstances when it came to missed payments between June 2017 and October 2018, the FCA said.

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The watchdog also said HSBC sometimes "took disproportionate action when people fell behind with payments, which risked people getting into greater financial difficulty". “People must be able to trust their lenders to treat them fairly when in financial difficulty," said Therese Chambers, the FCA's joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight.

"By failing to do so, HSBC put 1.5 million people at risk of greater financial harm." HSBC itself told the FCA about issues with handling customers facing financial difficulty in 2018 and said it had invested £94m in trying to identify and resolve the problem and made redress payments totalling £185m to more than 1.5 million customers.

The fine, originally priced at £8.97million, was reduced by 30% as HSBC agreed to settle the case and took action to resolve the issue. An HSBC UK spokesperson said: “We’re sorry that between 2017 and 2018 some customers who fell into arrears did not receive the service they expected from us. We reported these issues to the FCA at the time and have fully remediated impacted customers. We have invested in our processes since these matters came to light and are pleased to have resolved these historic issues with the regulator.”