Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Sunday, 9 August 2009 11:22 UK

Regulator denies leisurely style

Hector Sants acknowledges the "acute pressure" on many consumers

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has denied suggestions from a committee of MPs that it is taking a leisurely approach to consumer complaints.

The Treasury Committee criticised its approach to mortgage lenders levying high charges on customers in arrears.

But FSA chief executive Hector Sants told the BBC "we are doing our very very best... and you can expect to see tougher action from us in the future".

The committee said some lenders were overcharging in an "intolerable" way.

"We have heard evidence of charges as high as £35 from some lenders for simply sending a letter or making a phone call, and charges as high as £150 for a visit from a so-called 'debt counsellor'," said John McFall, chairman of the committee.

"Such practices are intolerable and are placing additional financial as well as emotional strain on those already struggling to keep a roof over their head," he added.

Mr Sants said that the FSA has more enforcement cases in the pipeline.

"People should be under no illusion we take this matter extremely seriously and we understand the importance of addressing these issues as quickly as we can," he said.

"We don't see it as a leisurely approach - that was obviously a comment from politicians."

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