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The latest news from the banking sector:

September 17, 2012

Co-op stops offering bank accounts to bankrupt customers

by Jan Harris
Co-op stops offering bank accounts to bankrupt customers
Despite its commitment to ethical business practices the Co-op has stopped offering bank accounts to people who are undischarged bankrupts. Bankrupts are usually automatically discharged from bankruptcy after 12 months and are then freed from bankruptcy restrictions and from the debts owed. People who are undischarged bankrupts will have access only to Barclays’ Cash Card Account following the Co-op’s decision, which ...




September 13, 2012

Portable account numbers would encourage people to switch banks

by Jan Harris
Portable account numbers would encourage people to banks
Switching your bank account is commonly believed to be fraught with difficulties, but consumer group Which? has discovered that more people would consider switching if they could keep their bank account number. Seventy-six per cent of the 2,057 people polled by Which? thought switching would be easier if they could keep their account number. Sixty-three per cent of those ...




September 7, 2012

Lloyds chief says banks should be boring

by Jan Harris
Lloyds chief says banks should be boring
Lloyds Banking Group’s chief executive, Antonio Horta-Osorio, has called for banks to be simple and boring in order to regain the trust of the public following the recent series of scandals. Speaking at the CBI Scotland annual dinner, Mr Horta-Osorio said that the general public had been let down by "complacent, non-customer focused and inefficient" banks. Recent scandals, which have included ...




September 6, 2012

Mobile operators to launch digital wallet

by Jan Harris
Mobile operators to launch digital wallet
Mobile operators Everything Everywhere, O2 and Vodafone have been given the thumbs up by European regulators to develop a digital wallet currently going under the name of ‘Project Oscar’. Hutchison Whampoa-owned Three may join the partnership at a later date and has welcomed news of the European Commission’s approval, although it initially expressed concern that Project Oscar was anti-competitive. The new m-commerce service ...




September 4, 2012

Banks warned to improve IT systems

by Jan Harris
Banks warned to improve IT systems
In the wake of the IT meltdown at the RBS group earlier this summer, the Treasury Select Committee is calling on banks to check their IT systems. The error occurred on 19 June during routine maintenance of the RBS computer system. It caused automated batch processing software to malfunction and although this was quickly fixed, the bank was left with a ...




August 31, 2012

Complaints about banks soar

by Jan Harris
Complaints about banks soar
The total number of customer complaints about UK banks has soared, but many of the complaints relate to payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling. When PPI-related complaints are stripped out, many banks received fewer complaints in the first half of this year. Part state-owned banks Lloyds and RBS received 146 per cent and 128 per cent more complaints respectively in the first half, while ...




Ulster Bank announces compensation for IT errors

by Jan Harris
Ulster Bank announces compensation for IT errors
Ulster Bank has revealed details of a scheme to compensate customers who were left out-of-pocket following a major IT failure earlier this summer. The problem started on 19 June following a software update by parent company Royal Bank of Scotland which left thousands of customers without access to their accounts. Transactions were disrupted for NatWest and Ulster Bank customer, with the ...




August 30, 2012

Building Society lending increased in July

by Jan Harris
Building Society lending increased in July
Building Society lending is increasing as mutuals attract customers from high street banks. Lending from building societies increased to £3.1 billion last month, a 14 per cent increase from June, according to the Building Societies Association. Building Societies gained a 24 per cent market share of gross lending in July, an increase of 17 per cent from July 2011, reflecting customers’ dissatisfaction with ...




August 29, 2012

Brits would trust retailers to provide current accounts

by Jan Harris
Brits would trust retailers to provide current accounts
Consumers’ trust in UK banks has fallen to the extent that millions would trust high-street retailers with their current accounts, according to a poll by comparison site Uswitch.com. Public confidence in banks has been eroded by recent scandals, including Libor rate-fixing and the mis-selling of financial products, as well as by IT failures. In its poll of 1,300 adults, ...




August 24, 2012

RBS could receive higher fine than Barclays for rate-rigging

by Jan Harris
RBS could receive higher fine than Barclays for rate-rigging
The Royal Bank of Scotland could be more heavily involved in inter-bank rate fixing than Barclays, an MP has suggested. John Mann, a Labour MP on the Treasury select committee, speculated that RBS could receive a fine in excess of the £290 million incurred by Barclays, if the allegations prove true. A source from within RBS recently said that ...




August 21, 2012

Which? report claims free banking is a myth

by Jan Harris
Which? report claims free banking is a myth
A new report by consumer group Which? highlights the high charges that can be applied to ‘free’ current accounts. While these accounts are free while in credit, charges can be applied if a customer goes overdrawn, especially if they do so without permission. Customers can also be charged for overseas transactions and for agreed overdrafts. The interest on agreed overdrafts can ...




August 9, 2012

Barclays appoints new chairman

by Jan Harris
Barclays appoints new chairman
Barclays has announced the appointment of Sir David Walker as its new chairman. He will take over from Marcus Agius who resigned from the role after Barclays was fined £290 million by regulators in the UK and US for manipulating Libor, the interbank lending rate. The appointment of Sir David, a respected and experienced banker, should help Barclays gain the respect and trust of ...




August 7, 2012

Standard Chartered in money-laundering scandal

by Jan Harris
Standard Chartered in money-laundering scandal
Standard Chartered has become the latest UK bank to be accused of illegal activity. It has been accused by the New York department of financial services of hiding $250 billion worth of illegal transactions with Iranian banks between 2001 and 2010. The US regulator claims that the bank, which has wholesale banking, corporate finance and dollar clearing operations in New York, ‘schemed’ ...




August 2, 2012

RBS may be fully nationalised

by Jan Harris
RBS may be fully nationalised
The Government is believed to be considering plans to buy the 18 per cent of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) it doesn’t already own, bringing the bank under full public ownership. The government purchased 82 per cent of the bank for £45 billion in a rescue deal at the height of the credit crunch. The remaining 18 per cent is owned by ...




Government to develop easy-to-compare savings products

by Jan Harris
Government to develop easy-to-compare savings products
Following a two-year consultation, the Treasury is planning to develop a range of savings products that would be offered by different providers. All providers would offer the same terms and conditions on the products but would compete on price, service and value, making it easy for customers to compare the products. The proposals, which are part of the Sergeant Review of Simple Financial ...




July 26, 2012

NatWest hit by IT problems again

by Jan Harris
NatWest hit by IT problems again
A further IT problem is affecting customers of NatWest bank, just weeks after an IT failure in June left NatWest and Ulster Bank customers without access to their funds. As before, NatWest customers are finding that they cannot access their accounts and their cards are being rejected in stores and restaurants. On its Twitter feed, @NatWest_Help , the bank said: "Some customers ...




Nationwide debits payments twice after ‘human error’

by Jan Harris
Nationwide debits payments twice after ‘human error’
Customers of Nationwide building society may have been charged twice for Visa debit card transactions, due to a ‘human error’. The accounts of customers who made debit card payments on Tuesday 24 July may have been debited for a second time on Wednesday 25 July. The mistake has led to many of the building society’s 4 million current account holders going ...




July 19, 2012

Co-op bank boosts high street presence

by Jan Harris
Co-op bank boosts high street presence
The Co-op’s long-awaited deal with Lloyds Banking group has taken a major step forward with the sealing of a Heads of Terms agreement, under which the Co-op will pay around £750m for 632 Lloyds branches. Lloyds Banking Group was ordered to sell the branches under the terms of the bail-out it received from the government four years ago. The latest move ...




UK trade minister drawn into HSBC money laundering scandal

by Jan Harris
UK trade minister drawn into HSBC money laundering scandal
UK trade minister, Lord Green, will have to answer some "serious questions" over HSBC’s involvement in money laundering, Chris Leslie, the shadow financial secretary to the Treasury, said. Lord Green was chief executive of HSBC from 2003 and 2006, and was chairman until 2010 when he resigned to become part of the coalition government. A year-long investigation by the ...




July 18, 2012

M&S bank launches £20 a month current account

by Jan Harris
M&S bank launches £20 a month current account
Marks and Spencer is opening its first in-store bank branch this week and will launch its first current account this autumn. M&S bank will make its debut at the retailer’s flagship store in Marble Arch, London, with 49 more branches expected to open over the next two years. Its current account is targeted firmly at M&S shoppers, offering a number ...