Complaints against banks continue to rise, led by a rise in criticisms about loans and overdrafts and default charges, according to industry figures.

The Banking Code Standards Board (BCSB), which oversees a voluntary code of conduct, said it received 2,242 complaints and queries about Code related matters in the year to the end of March, up almost a quarter from 1,812 in the previous year.

Adrian Lloyd, compliance director of the BCSB, said the rise was largely due to millions of leaflets sent to bank customers to raise awareness of the BCSB's work.

We genuinely don't feel it (the rise) is evidence of increased dissatisfaction about banking, and the trends in the current year suggest there will be nothing like that growth, Lloyd said.

The data in the 2005/06 Annual Report show some areas are accounting for a rising share of the complaints, however, including segments that have come under recent scrutiny unsecured lending and charges.

Lloyd said complaints about loans and overdrafts accounted for 26 percent of last year's total, sharply up from 19 percent a year earlier, while credit cards complaints represented 17 percent, up from 15 percent.

Complaints about bank charges represented 12 percent of the total, up from 9 percent a year before.

There have been concerns that banks have lent too freely to UK consumers, who could struggle to pay back unsecured loans as interest rates and household bills rise.

The country's consumer watchdog has attacked charges imposed by banks in the last year. The Office of Fair Trading forced banks to cut credit card charges in April, and last week said it would look at charges for customers who overdraw their accounts.