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April 1, 2008    

New Banking Code means better consumer protection

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by Kay Murchie

A new Banking Code, which has come into effect this week, means more help for those in financial difficulties.

The new Banking Code and Business Banking Code promises to enhance its efforts to see that banks and building societies treat their customers fairly and reasonably.

Angela Knight, chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association, said this new Banking Code gives strong commitments that banks will lend responsibly and will help customers who may be heading towards financial difficulties.

People do panic when their money starts to go wrong, if they leave it alone it just gets worse. The long consultation process, now complete, has shown clearly what customers want and expect from their banks, added Ms Knight.

The eight improvements include a new commitment to responsible lending, more help for customers who could be heading for financial crises, strengthened credit assessment, clearer information about products, prohibition of account closure in response to a customer’s valid complaint, information regarding how to find a lost or dormant account, greater clarity of cheque clearing times and more clarity on credit cards and credit card cheques.

The new code follows an independent review, which included consultation with the Treasury, Financial Services Authority and Office of Fair Trading.

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