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The latest news from the banking sector:

December 20, 2012

Lloyds TSB halts sale of packaged accounts in branches

by Jan Harris
Lloyds TSB halts sale of packaged accounts in branches
Lloyds TSB will stop selling packaged account in its branches from 1 January 2013, until its sales procedures are brought into line with those operated by sister bank The Halifax. Lloyds TSB is one of the main providers of packaged accounts in Britain, with around one in three of its customers choosing to pay fees ranging from £9.95 to ...




December 18, 2012

Savers dig deep to fund Christmas

by Jan Harris
Savers dig deep to fund Christmas
New research from the Halifax suggests that savers are funding their Christmas spending with money set aside for other purposes. Thirty-seven per cent of 2,138 savers surveyed by the bank at the end of November had withdrawn savings in the last three months. The average amount withdrawn was £1,186, more than double the average savings of £555 made by 75 per cent ...




December 17, 2012

Financial data at risk from unsafe passwords

by Jan Harris
Financial data at risk from unsafe passwords
According to a survey by the Payments Council the problem of having to remember a different password for several accounts means that many internet users are compromising the security of their financial data. Internet users have 22 password-protected accounts on average and many use the same log-in details for more than one account, even though this is a greater security risk ...




December 13, 2012

Shepshed Building Society joins with The Nottingham

by Jan Harris
Shepshed Building Society joins with The Nottingham
The Nottingham and Shepshed building societies will merge in July 2013, with Shepshed’s three branches being rebranded under The Nottingham name. Shepshed Building Society, which has branches in Shepshed and Loughborough, Leicestershire; and Ruddington, Nottinghamshire, has struggled to grow in the face of economic downturn and increased competition, prompting it to seek a merger. It has assets of around £93 million and ...




December 12, 2012

Moneyfacts reports fall in number of savings accounts

by Jan Harris
Moneyfacts reports fall in number of savings accounts
The Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), launched by the Bank of England and the Treasury this summer, has caused a sharp fall in the number of accounts available for savers, according to Moneyfacts, a leading provider of personal finance data. FLS is designed to increase the availability of mortgages and business loans by providing banks and building societies with ...




December 11, 2012

HSBC fined $1.92 billion by US authorities

by Jan Harris
HSBC fined $1.92 billion by US authorities
HSBC has received a record $1.9 billion (£1.2 billion) fine from US federal and state authorities after its poor money laundering controls allowed it to be used as a conduit for drug barons and nations on which sanctions had been imposed, including Iran. Following a multi-agency investigation HSBC was charged with violating sanctions by transferring billions of dollars for sanctioned nations ...




Northern Rock customers to receive windfall

by Jan Harris
Northern Rock customers to receive windfall
Northern Rock customers could receive a windfall of around £1,700 because of an error in the wording of loan statements. The mistake, made by the nationalised part of the bank, will cost UK taxpayers a total of £270 million. Up to 152,000 customers who took out personal loans of less than £25,000 will receive an average of £1,775 because information was ...




December 10, 2012

Banks still pushing sales despite mis-selling

by Jan Harris
Banks still pushing sales despite mis-selling
Consumer group Which? claims that bank staff are still under pressure to sell products to customers, despite the recent scandals over mis-selling. Mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) has cost banks over £10m in compensation to customers, but bank staff are still being driven by sales targets and incentives to sell products to customers. According to new rules, staff incentives should ...




December 7, 2012

Reform should increase availability of basic bank accounts

by Jan Harris
Reform should increase availability of basic bank accounts
Undischarged bankrupts should find in easier to open a basic bank account when changes are made to insolvency law. Barclays is the only bank still to offer basic bank accounts, which allow customers to pay in wages and any benefits but do not provide other services such as overdrafts. Basic bank accounts were offered by the Co-op until September, when they ...




December 4, 2012

Weak PIN may leave fraud victims without compensation

by Jan Harris
Weak PIN may leave fraud victims without compensation
Santander is introducing changes to its terms and conditions which could leave victims of card fraud without compensation if the bank can show they have been negligent. Santander’s customers must use a unique four-digit PIN number on each of their credit and debit cards. Using the same number for several cards can be considered ‘negligent’. The numbers used must not be ...




November 29, 2012

UK banks must raise more capital to cover risks

by Jan Harris
UK banks must raise more capital to cover risks
UK banks need to raise £60 billion to meet regulatory risk standards and to cover fines and compensations for mis-selling, the Bank of England says in its Financial Stability Report (FSR). Banks will need between £5 billion and £35 billion to meet regulator risk standards the report said, while a further £4 billion to £10 billion will be needed ...




November 27, 2012

Nationwide confirms interest in RBS branches

by Jan Harris
Nationwide confirms interest in RBS branches
Nationwide Building Society, Britain’s biggest mutual lender, has told Reuters news agency that it is interested in purchasing the portfolio of branches being sold by Royal Bank of Scotland. The acquisition would support Nationwide’s plan to start lending to small and medium-sized enterprises. Speaking to Reuters, Nationwide’s chief executive Graham Beale said: “Strategically we want to enter into the SME space. ...




Lloyds TSB writes to customers over Co-op move

by Jan Harris
Lloyds TSB writes to customers over move to Co-op
Lloyds TSB is writing to the 3.5 million customers affected by its sale of 632 branches to the Co-operative Bank. Customers will start receiving letters tomorrow, officially informing them that their accounts will be moved to a new TSB Bank which will be run by the Co-op. Lloyds Banking Group sold the branches under European rules, after it ...




November 21, 2012

FSA warns banks over bonuses

by Jan Harris
FSA warns banks over bonuses
Banks have been warned by the financial watchdog that this year’s bonuses should reflect the recent scandals that have rocked the banking industry. According to The Financial Times, Andrew Bailey of the Financial Services Authority wrote to banks’ chief executives in October, saying that bonuses should be forfeited or reduced for those involved in payment protection insurance mis-selling and Libor rate rigging. ...




November 16, 2012

Taxpayers may never recoup bank bailout money

by Jan Harris
Taxpayers may never recoup bank bailout money
UK taxpayers may never recover the £66bn spent by the government to bailout RBS and Lloyds Banking Group during the financial crisis, a parliamentary committee has warned. The government bought 40 per cent of Lloyds and 82 per cent of RBS in 2008, when the banks were at risk of collapse. Earlier that year it nationalised Northern Rock when the subprime mortgage ...




November 8, 2012

Banking chief calls for tougher safety measures for banks

by Jan Harris
Banking chief calls for tougher safety measures for banks
Andrew Haldane, the Bank of England's executive director for financial stability, has warned that the planned safety measures for banks need to be strengthened, the Independent reported. Speaking to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Banking Standards Mr Haldane said that the Vickers Report’s recommendation to ring-fence investment banking operations should be implemented fully. He also said that banks which ...




November 5, 2012

NS&I reduces Isa interest rate to 2.25%

by Jan Harris
NS&I reduces Isa interest rate to 2.25%
National Savings & Investments (NS&I) has reduced the interest rate on its tax-free cash Isa from 2.5% to 2.25, affecting 320,000 savers. The cut follows a review of the market which identified a trend for rates to be cut on similar products. The cut by NS&I, which is the first it has made since 2009, takes effect immediately. In a ...




November 2, 2012

North Yorkshire Credit Union in liquidation

by Jan Harris
North Yorkshire Credit Union in liquidation
The North Yorkshire Credit Union has informed its 5,000 savers that it is no longer able to meet its expenses and has been placed in liquidation. It is the sixth credit union to collapse this year, while seven credit unions failed in 2011. The North Yorkshire credit Union is regulated by the Financial Services Authority and is covered by an official compensation ...




Basic bank account standards at risk

by Jan Harris
Basic bank account standards at risk
Consumer Focus, the statutory consumer champion, is calling for a minimum standard for basic bank accounts to be introduced, to ensure the survival of the product. Basic bank accounts are used by people who are unable to open a regular current account, perhaps because of a poor credit history. It is estimated that they are used by around 20 per cent of ...




November 1, 2012

Junior ISAs fail to take off

by Jan Harris
Junior ISAs fail to take off
A year has passed since the government replaced Child Trust Funds with Junior ISAs (JISAs) but more than half of parents are unaware that they exist, according to research by friendly society Family Investments Children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011 were eligible to open a Child Trust Fund and to receive a contribution of up to £500 from the ...