26 Mar, 2014 @ 17:07
1 min read

Santander fined nearly €15 million for misadvising customers

Santander bank

SPANISH banking giant Santander has been fined €14.9 million by a British financial watchdog, in one of the biggest ever retail banking penalties.

The Financial Conduct Agency (FCA) said it had fined Santander, the Eurozone´s biggest lender, for ‘widespread investment advice failings’.

Tracey McDermott, the director of enforcement and financial crime at the FCA, said Santander had ‘let its customers down badly’.

“Customers trusted Santander to help them manage their money wisely, but it failed to live up to that responsibility,” she added.

“If trust in financial services is going to be restored, which it must be, then customers need to be confident that those advising them understand, and are driven by, what they need.”

Steve Pateman, head of banking at Santander UK, said the bank regretting that ‘investment sales processes did not meet the required regulatory standands’.

The watchdog reduced the fine by 30% because Santander agreed to settle at an early stage in the proceedings.

The bank’s bad advice was first brought to light in 2012, by a mystery shopping exercise that recorded serious failings in the way Santander was advising its customers.

The most recent follows a previous €16.9 million fine that Santander received last month from the National Securities Commission (CNMV), for infractions committed in the sale of securities in 2007.

Imogen Calderwood

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  1. I guess the bankers’ strategy is to do what you can to make a BIG profit, and IF cought, settle out of Court with a 30% reduction in Penalty? Seems like a dumb decision by UK’s FCA to let Santander off with a 30% Penalty reduction to only 15 MM Euros for it’s 2012 acts of misselling. Certainly after the 17MM euro Penalty by the National Securities Commision for Santader’s infractions in sale of securities in 2007! 30% off = 4.5MM euros, where does that Taxpayers’ money go… to the UK Gov’t to send Aid to India?
    If only the UK had some business experienced folks running the show. Going from elite family to elite university right into “public service” government is shown NOT to work there.

  2. My typo in above comment. 30% reduction means about 6MM euros “saved by early settlement”. That sum buys alot of Court time which Santander would have to pay for if Guilty!

  3. “http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/apr/20/santander-tops-bank-complaints-list”
    “Santander has been named as the most complained about bank by the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Spanish-owned bank, which is advertising its 123 current account heavily at the moment, was the subject of four complaints for every one of its 1,000 banking customers during the second half of last year.” My bank, Banesto, was taken over recently and from that day I have had nothing but bad experiences. Mortgage payment made late, and then I am charged because it was late . . . Don’t touch them, if you have the choice.

  4. I couldn’t agree more, don’t touch them, I have heard nothing but complaints about late payments, lost money, lost transfers, incompetence, etc. “Customers trusted Santander to help them manage their money wisely, but it failed to live up to that responsibility,”: it amazes me that anyone would think it is OK to bank with Santander UK, but then of course most people in the UK will not have benefited from the experience of having sampled Santander’s appalling customer service and charges structure in Spain.

    I had an account with Santander in Spain and it was a nightmare. The service was hopeless and the charges were incredible. We were charged for just about everything, having an account, having a cheque book, having a debit card, there was no concept of free banking. Money took ages to arrive, payments in always took 5 days to clear, even cash, and payments out were always immediate, even going out on bank holidays! Unauthorised payments were made from the account and on occasion the staff were rude. I would swear that they would charge you to enter the branch if they could. In the end we got sick of it and closed the account – and were even charged to do that!

    We opened an account at Barclays and haven’t looked back – no charges, they even pay 3% cash back on utility bills; I would have said that the experience at Santander is just another dose of the cynical, hypocritical money-grabbing nature of Spain but other banks can clearly manage not to be like that. I am not surprised that mention has been made above of service at Banesto going down the pan since being taken over by Santander – I saw the signs going up informing of said takeover and of course later on the Banesto branches got the full Santander treatment with that glaring red all over the place and that wretched logo; I feel like vomiting every time I pass a Santander branch or see one of their TV adverts. I really enjoyed seeing a Santander branch being smashed up in the 2011 riots in England, maybe the rioters in Madrid last week were getting their own back when they smashed up a Barclays branch!

    So, if I found myself with Santander due to a takeover of another bank in the UK or Spain, or anywhere else for that matter, I would close the accounts before they got the chance to muck it all up and then blame me for the errors, no doubt hoping that I would find it difficult to open an account elsewhere. I have already been caught up in the LloydsTSB-TSB split, becoming part of TSB. I was happy enough about that, despite the fact that my nearest branch is now 9 miles away, but my biggest fear is that they will float TSB on the stock market and it will get gobbled up by Santander. You know what I’ll do if that happens…..

    If Santander like to be “Europe’s largest lender” it is befitting that they have been subject to one of the “biggest ever retail banking penalties” for misadvising customers. I always keep an eagle eye out for the small print on credit agreements to make sure that I am not unwittingly signing up with Santander Consumer Finance when getting involved with something seemingly unconnected.

    Likewise I would never have a phone with O2 – owned by Telefonica. Until I realised how bad Santander were, Telefonica were the worst company I had ever had to deal with; no service, advisers putting the phone down on me, constantly being fobbed off, no phone lines, no mobile signal, made to wait years for some crappy radio phone, not sending an engineer out to collect their equipment when I finally extricated myself from their clutches and then sending me a bill for the equipment, followed by a letter from a debt collection agency, informing me that I would be blacklisted in Spain AND the UK for non-payment for equipment I had requested Telefonica remove nearly a year ago!

    While I am on the subject, I will never sign up for electricity or gas with Scottish Power, since they were taken over by Iberdrola. There was talk years ago of opening up the Spanish electricity market to competition by allowing the buy-out of some of their generation/distribution companies, but the government vetoed it because they said it would not be in the interests of the Spanish people. At the same time they are quite happy for their companies to buy out foreign generation/distribution companies – usual Spanish hypocrisy, as the likes of Iberdrola expand their empires and crow about how big they have become. I bet many mergers creating Europe’s 3rd largest energy supplier would have been blocked by the EU but Spain always seem to manage to come up smelling of roses. By the way, how come foreign companies have not been allowed to buy up Spanish electricity firms and yet the prices are sky high? Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Zapatero!

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