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FCA fines HSBC £6.2 million over treatment of customers in financial difficulty

What has happened?

In May 2024, the FCA fined HSBC UK Bank plc, HSBC Bank plc and Marks and Spencer Financial Services plc £6,280,100 for failures in HSBC’s treatment of customers who were in arrears or experiencing financial difficulty. 

What are the key points of the FCA fine?

Between June 2017 and October 2018, HSBC failed to properly consider borrowers’ circumstances when they had missed payments. This meant it did not always perform the right affordability assessments when entering into arrangements with borrowers to reduce or clear their arrears. In addition, sometimes it failed to apply the appropriate forbearance measures and took disproportionate action when borrowers fell behind with payments, which risked them getting into greater financial difficulty.  
The failings were caused by deficiencies in HSBC’s policies and procedures, the training of its staff, and its inadequate measures to identify and address instances of unfair customer treatment.  
In 2018, HSBC identified that there were issues with its handling of customers in financial difficulty and notified the FCA. HSBC invested £94 million in a customer redress exercise to identify the issues and put them right and also issued redress payments totalling £185 million to over 1.5 million customers

How can we help you?

Thistle Initiatives has supported credit firms for over 10 years as a trusted compliance and regulatory adviser. In addition to assisting these firms as-and-when, our team of specialists can serve as your right hand in meeting and complying with FCA regulations. We understand the importance of staying up-to-date and compliant and are dedicated to providing the guidance and support needed to do so.

Are you looking for help with your vulnerable customer arrangements, or more general regulatory questions? If so, we can help in any of the following ways;

  • Reviewing and assessing your arrangements for identifying and supporting vulnerable customers, including forbearance measures and staff training
  • Reviewing your Treating Customers Fairly arrangements
  • Reviewing your Customer Duty implementation, use of management information and board reporting
  • Arranging a customer redress exercise

Contact our specialist team now to schedule a free consultation. Get in touch with us by calling 020 7436 0630 or sending an email to