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Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) was first introduced probably as far back as 1960s and 1970s when it was attracted to very small facilities, such as store cards and some HP products. However, it did not really hit the mass consumer market until the Banks got hold of the policy and realised that they could make huge sums of money out of individuals who ultimately (until then) were not paying a tremendous amount of cash to the Banks to keep their coffers nice and swollen.
Most of the High Street Banks began to look at the PPI product in the 1980s, and took full advantage of then attaching it to personal loan facilities that consumers required. In the late 1980s/early 1990s there was a consumer spending boom, and PPI was attached to pretty much any product that they could think of. The Banks were making huge sums of money by attaching this product to any facility that they offered, and they encouraged and promoted the sale of the product throughout the staff and invested heavily in training to make sure that any consumer who had any product would walk away (through fair means or foul) with the PPI policy attached.
It is almost impossible to know how many PPI policies have been sold since the mid to late 1980s, but we do know that approximately 15 million policies were sold from 2001 to 2009. Bearing in mind the investigation took place over the final 3 years, and the Banks had already begun to quieten down on how they promoted the product to see if they could slip it under the radar with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), we can only assume that in the years prior to this, it would have been far more prevalent, certainly with the number of credit cards that were available within those periods to the application of PPI on the facilities that were being taken.
Therefore, it could easily be safe to assume that the number of mis-sold policies could reach the 200 million to 250 million mark. In that case, any refunds (bearing in mind the average is approximately £2,500), would reach many hundreds of billions of pounds, rather than the £30billion that the Banks have had to pay to date (to end 2015).
Unfortunately, the Banks became extremely greedy with regard to PPI which is why, as is always the case with them, they have been caught out. However, before we all start sobbing for them, we must realise that, as a business the way they operate with regard to any mis-selling scandal is extremely clever. Taking the PPI scandal – if you look at how much they have had to pay out on what they have potentially generated over the same period of time, it pales into insignificance. If you were told that you could make £100, but at some point in the future you would lose £20, then you would happily accept that, and this is basically the Banks philosophy when dealing with any financial product.
PPI is rarely sold now as a product by any lender. Some credit card companies do offer it but the regulation is so tight that the vast majority of people do not take it. Therefore, it is probably going to be a product that finds its way into obscurity, until of course the Banks can think of another product that will take its place and give them the financial benefits that they always desire. Of course, this will always lead to a mis-selling claim down the line, but we shall watch this space!