(Adds Bailey interview)
By Huw Jones
LONDON Dec 9 Britain's financial services
industry regulator has delayed its final decision on setting a
deadline for consumers to claim compensation for being mis-sold
debt repayment insurance.
Banks including Lloyds and RBS have
collectively paid out 24 billion pounds ($30 billion) in what
has become Britain's costliest financial services scandal.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) launched a
consultation in August on whether to effectively set a mid-2019
deadline for people to make a claim for being mis-sold payment
protection insurance (PPI), and was to decide by the end of this
year on whether to proceed.
On Friday it said this decision has now been postponed until
the first quarter of 2017, which could push back the final
deadline for claims.
The FCA said it would make a further announcement some time
in the first three months of 2017.
Any final decision would trigger a two-year countdown to the
deadline falling to allow for a publicity campaign to be run and
meaning it could affect the mid-2019 date initially indicated in
August, leaving banks potentially exposed to claims for longer.
FCA Chief Executive Andrew Bailey said the watchdog has
received a "complete array" of feedback to its August
consultation, with banks wanting to move very quickly while
consumer groups were pushing for much more time.
"It's deeply technical and we have got to get it right. We
would have loved to hit the schedule... We are not going to rush
it," Bailey told Reuters.
"It's sensible to assume that the extra time we take between
now and when we get it out broadly rolls onto the whole
"If we try to compress some later part of the timetable, we
would be taking risks with the process. It obviously affects a
lot of people," Bailey said.
Shares in RBS, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC
were all weaker in early trading, while the broader market was
($1 = 0.7954 pounds)
(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Rachel Armstrong, Greg