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Banking News & UK Comment 2006

Several TV programmes have already been 'screened' this year on banking issues. They were 'hard hitting' but banks still continue to plunder the consumer in many different ways. Regulators do not appear to have the 'will' yet to properly protect bank consumers from banker's profiteering.

Typical example being that those who have requested a repayment of the illegal 'penalty' fees from their bank have found the bank has paid up (eventually) but the bank has then withdrawn their bank account facilities. How does that sit with being 'fair and reasonable' under the Banking Code you might ask - (but no prizes for any answers to that one). If you anticipate claiming 'penalty' fees back make sure you also have another bank account 'up and running' with another bank first - ready for that eventuality!

 

Chip and Pin flaws emerge - a major bank conceded that serious flaws in the new chip and PIN system has opened it up to fraud. Lloyds TSB admitted a surge in thefts by gangs who clone debit and credit cards then plunder accounts at ATMs overseas. It seems that UK banks have adopted the lowest priced option to launch Chip and PIN which allows fraudsters to still clone cards and exploit loopholes in the bank security. - As 'cloning' only takes a few minutes and the banks seek to distance themselves from Chip and PIN frauds customers must now be extremely vigilant and not allow cards to be taken 'out of sight' during any transaction.

One bank Consumer faces 8 banks in penalty charges case  - Stephen Hone's case  against 8 banks is that he alleges that penalty charges which are been levied by the banks  against consumers are unfair in current consumer contract law. He is seeking a judgment by the court based on existing case law regarding penalty charges and new law regarding consumer contracts. The banks seek to  'strike out' his action at Plymouth County Court on 10.30am 30th March 2006 - Please note: The court date has now been put back to 12th April 2006. Comment: We have been informed that the case was struck out on the basis that OFT was the proper consumer's body entitled to take such an action. Unfortunately, the OFT has declared its position by allowing banks to charge even a 12 fee for what is a 5 max. job.

Look back in Anger? Our piece (written on 25.02.05) below regarding Don Cruickshank's comments on the banking profits at that time are again relevant. As banks continue to 'rack up' huge record profits the Government and regulators 'stand on the sidelines' and watch UK consumers being ripped off in numerous different ways.

Of course banks now make a lot of their profits abroad - they also make huge profits from every type of money transfer from all of us on a daily basis. Without the decade plus of profiteering in the UK which has fattened most bank profits how would they have funded their business expansion both here and abroad? 

HSBC is somewhat different because they are global in their activities but as Alex Brummer in his City Comment on 7/3/06 in the Daily Mail wrote:  'our banks, including HSBC, still have a great deal to learn when dealing with consumers. The boast that HSBC is making just 1.05 profit a week from the UK personal customer will not resonate with clients who have encountered overdraft or credit card penalties.'

Whether anyone can trust any bank figures being circulated by the banks is debatable - this industry has a habit of protecting itself with figures that are pure PR and we all know that figures can prove anything if you play with them enough - don't forget this is the same industry that said credit cards were fraud proof and that the magnetic stripes on them couldn't be copied - and that Hole in the Wall (ATM) transactions were perfectly safe and could not be compromised, etc...A rather large 'pinch of salt' is required to take the figure of 1.05 on trust - particularly when an estimated 70% profit margin on one product alone (PPI) produces a colossal estimated 5billion plus in profit alone for the banks!

Please note that Cruickshank said on 18/02/2005 that 'banks still run a monopoly' He also said that the government did not act on his report because of a "regulatory contract", which in effect exists between the banks and government -  UK bank customers deserve much better than this.

Penalty charged on bank credit card/mortgage/loan or overdraft? Rates for the penalty charged by banks has varied between 15 - 35 - If you've been charged penalties on your bank overdraft or credit card see where Lloyds TSB were sued for overdraft penalty charges.

Also, see how Base rates have moved since 2002 and Check which way your bank's charging rate has altered over the last few years - see if you can work out how banks make so much profit! - 11.03.2006

Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) National, independent, unique, experienced, specialist, non-profit, banking customer membership organization which investigates and resolves business banking disputes & has since 1992 campaigned on UK Banking issues - providing business banking editorial for BBC TV News, ITV News, Sky News, Radio and all national newspapers.