Santander has been fined £32.8 million by the Financial Conduct Authority for “serious failings” in passing on the money of the deceased to family members.
Following an investigation into the lender, the FCA found that in some cases the bank has kept the money for multiple years and has failed to transfer an estimated £183 million.
“These failings took too long to be identified and then far too long to be fixed,” said Mark Steward, the executive director of enforcement at the FCA.
“To the firm’s credit, once these problems were notified to the board and senior management, they were fixed properly and promptly. But recognition of the problem took too long. Firms must be able to identify and respond to problems more quickly especially when they are causing harm to customers.”
Over 40,000 customers have been affected by the bank’s failings, which failed to its probate and bereavement process between 1 January 2013 and 11 July 2016.
The chief executive of Santander (BME: SAN) said: “Santander is very sorry for the impact these failings have had on the families and beneficiaries affected.”
“We have now transferred the majority of customer funds and made significant improvements to our whole probate and bereavement process, ensuring we provide both a sensitive and efficient service to our bereaved customer representatives and those who are managing the estates of people who have passed away,” he added.
Santander warned in October that Brexit will have “significant” impacts on results. The group’s net profit fell 8.8% year-on-year in the second quarter of this year.
“There remains significant uncertainty as to the respective legal and regulatory environments in which we and our subsidiaries will operate when the UK is no longer a member of the EU,” said the bank about Brexit impacts.
“This uncertainty, and any actions taken as a result of this uncertainty, as well as new or amended rules, may have a significant impact on our operating results, financial condition and prospects.”