Bloomberg Línea — Brazilian banks are among the largest companies in the country and have the largest number of customers. Because of the type of service they provide, they are also often the target of consumers’ complaints over the quality of their services.
One way to evaluate the services provided by banks is through complaint rankings. Brazil’s central bank, responsible for regulating the financial sector, for example, prepares a periodic survey with the institutions that had the highest number of complaints by consumers in the institution’s service channels.
The central bank classifies the institutions according to an index that weighs up the number of complaints from each company by the number of customers.
The most recent survey is from the first quarter of 2023 and brings a list of the fifteen largest institutions in the country, by number of clients, with the highest rate of complaints.
At the top of the list is Banco Pan (BPAN4), which became a subsidiary of BTG Pactual (BPAC11) in December 2022. Banco Pan had the highest rate of complaints among the 15 largest financial institutions in the BC ranking.
The bank had 1,608 complaints registered in the first quarter by the central bank, which generated an index of 71.87, the highest among the 15 institutions evaluated (the higher the number, the worse the evaluation).
When contacted by Bloomberg Línea, Banco Pan said in a statement that it is committed to improving customer experience (see the bank’s response and those of other institutions at the end of the text).
The list is followed by Banco Inter, with 825 complaints and an index of 33.24, in second place. Then come C6 Bank (733 complaints/index of 29.09), Pagseguro Pagbank (781 complaints and index of 27.23) and Bradesco (BBDC4) (2,390 complaints and index of 23.05).
The companies that had the lowest index of complaints in the first quarter, meanwhile, are: Ame Digital (147 complaints/index 4.53), Nubank (NU) (482 complaints/index 6.58) and Banco do Brasil (BBAS3), with 637 complaints/index 8.59.
To calculate the index, the central bank takes into account only the complaints considered “justified”, i.e., those in which there is evidence of non-compliance with the law or regulation under the competence of the auhorities.
Other financial institutions evaluated by the central bank have a higher index than Banco Pan (71.87), but are not included in the ranking because they are not among the 15 institutions with the largest number of clients. Among them are Facta Financeira (854.46 index), Banco Master (647.82), Banco Digimais (187.09), Grupo Bonsucesso BS2 (152.99), XP (150.01), Daycoval (101.28), and Agibank (87.85).
Most common complaints against banks in Brazil
The most frequent complaints from clients in the central bank’s channels cover various aspects of financial services. In the first quarter of 2023, the main complaints were related to irregularities in credit card operations and services, with 2,952 complaints.
This was followed by complaints about the offer or inadequate provision of information related to consigned credit, with 1,191 complaints.
General irregularities in operations and services, except those related to credit cards, were also a significant source of complaints, adding up to 1,127 records.
Credit operations, except consigned credit, and inadequate information about credit cards were also reasons for complaints, with 784 and 740 complaints, respectively.
A history of complaints
The five financial institutions that occupy the top 15 ranking of the central bank (Banco Pan/BTG Pactual, Inter, C6, Pagseguro Pagbank and Bradesco) were in the same positions in the previous edition of the survey, carried out in the fourth quarter of 2022.
In relation to the first quarter of 2022, there were some changes in the ranking of the financial institutions that received the most complaints.
In that quarter, C6 Bank led the index of complaints, with an index of 77.99 and 1,265 complaints. Banco Pan/BTG Pactual ranked second, with an index of 68.20 and 1,290 complaints. Banco Inter came in third, with an index of 48.85 and 833 complaints.
Banco BMG came in fourth (47.20 index and 489 complaints), followed by Santander (27.30 index and 1,589 complaints).
The central bank ranking is not the only one that gathers complaints and ratings from bank customers.
Reclame Aqui, a well-known Brazilian consumer complaint site, also presents data on complaints directed to financial institutions.
According to the site, Banco Bradesco leads the ranking with the highest number of complaints for offline services, followed by Santander, Itaú, Banco Inter, Banco Pan, Banco BMG, Banco Original and Banco BV.
Procon-SP (Foundation for Consumer Protection and Defense) also draws up a list of the companies with the most complaints. Last year, the bank with the highest number of registrations was Bradesco, followed by Itaú Unibanco, Santander, Banco Pan, Caixa Econômica Federal, C6 Bank, Banco do Brasil, BMG, Inter and Nubank.
What the banks say
In a statement, Banco Pan said that “it is committed to constantly improving the experience of its clients, both in the products and services offered, as well as in its service channels”. The bank also says that “it has been investing in portfolio and process innovation, in order to deliver an agile, simple, and modern experience. Pan reinforces its position of respect for customers and is available in all its channels”.
Febraban, an entity that represents the main banks in the country, said in a statement that banks have been striving to reduce response times for complaints from their internal channels, with increased resoluteness and consumer satisfaction.
“Febraban encourages the population to use the customer service channel as a priority to solve their problems, which has consumer satisfaction rates of 91% and same-day solution time in nine out of 10 cases taken to the SAC (customer service) channel”.
PagBank said in a statement that it “values customer satisfaction and adopts guidelines and practices that seek to meet the expectations of people who make our company a complete digital bank.
PagBank also said it is committed to “increasingly improve the products and services offered to customers, in addition to relentlessly seek the resolution of issues that may arise in these relationships.
Bradesco said in a statement that it constantly monitors complaints and works hard to find solutions. “Reducing complaint rates is a permanent focus of the bank. All complaints are closely monitored by the Ombudsman’s Office. The goal is to always offer quality service to all customers and users of products and services. It is important to emphasize that Bradesco has a position of absolute respect for customers and their interests”.
In a statement, Inter said it “has worked continuously to improve all its customer service channels and continues to invest to ensure the best possible experience for its more than 26 million customers”.
The company also said that it “registers 84 points in the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which places it among the highest scores in the banking sector and keeps Inter in the excellence zone. The index measures the level of customer satisfaction with products and services and monitors the entire journey on the platform. In addition, Inter maintains a reputation as Excellent in Reclame Aqui in a stable manner over the last 12 months and has a score of 4.8 in the app stores (iOS and Android).”
Inter also said it “reinforces its commitment to respect customers and the purpose of offering a complete journey, from financial to non-financial services, digital and free for all”.
C6 Bank said that reducing complaints and increasing the solution rate in internal channels are priorities for the bank. “The actions implemented are already reflected in the Central Bank ranking, which shows the 8th consecutive improvement in the bank’s index. We remain committed to the continuous evolution of our operations,” it said.
The company also said that “among the implemented actions are the training of teams to increase the solution rate in internal channels; the review of communication standards so that customers have increasingly agile and clear responses; the implementation of data panels that show to various areas of the bank the mapping of customer reports, so that all teams can see what comes through the communication channels and can predict improvements in the customer journey. There is more and more room on the product development treadmills for evolutions that were born from insights coming from user testing to evaluate the experience and also from customer service in various channels.
Bloomberg Línea consulted the most recent data on complaints, claims and user service performance indices in the various Latin American countries featured in this special report. The editorial team also consulted various specialists who cover the financial industry in the region on the value that financial institutions place on the concept of customer service.
The data that Bloomberg Línea presents were provided by regulatory and consumer protection authorities to follow up on user responses, complaints and claims.
There is no standard that allows us to draw a common denominator due to several factors, such as the size of the markets, the priority that regulators and competition agents give to the matter and the demands of consumers themselves in the face of irregularities in the industry.