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Consumers paid £1.9bn in 2011 PPI compensation

Consumers were paid out to the tune of £1.9 billion last year in compensation for being mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).
The figures were boosted significantly by the £441 million that was paid out in December to PPI customers.
PPI payments have accelerated since April when providers were ordered to deal with claims from customers who said they had been mis-sold the policies.
The insurance was typically sold with credit cards and other unsecured lending on the basis that customers were covered if circumstances meant they could no longer meet their monthly payments.
But providers are facing calls to pay out PPI redress in a speedier manner.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) releases data each month which shows how much providers have paid back to PPI customers each month.
The figures are based on feedback given to the regulator by 16 unnamed firms which accept the vast majority of PPI payments (92% of all PPI complaints in the first half of the year).
Recent months have seen monthly compensation given out to PPI customers increase, with £268 million in October and £379 million in November.
But Which? has called on banks to improve their PPI processes, with the consumer group saying that figures show that only a quarter of the amount set aside for claims was paid out last year.
"Too many people are still finding the claims process too lengthy, the banks must streamline the process to make it easier for people to claim," said Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?.
"Otherwise this leaves an open goal for claims management companies that charge people a hefty fee for putting in a claim which is easily done yourself for free.
"Which? has found dubious practice by claims managers, including bombarding people with misleading information about getting PPI compensation."