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IBAS News Archives 2005 to 1998          

     IBAS News Archives 2008 - 2006 & IBAS News Archives 2001- 1998

Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) - launched in 1992 as a specialist unincorporated business banking membership organization assisting bank customers with UK business banking account loan disputes and business banking debt disputes with their bank. Our analysis and investigation of business bank loans, bank accounts, banking contracts, business banking account facilities and banking debt recovery information has been instrumental in our member's success.

IBAS is now in it's 25th year helping/guiding those with UK Business Banking disputes and Director's Personal Guarantee business debt claims - IBAS is the only UK non profit organization which provides business banking customers with specialist business banking assistance and specialist business banking guidance and also IBAS specialist business banking investigations.

IBAS business banking dispute negotiating experience and proven strategy provides claims and defences for business bank customers. IBAS has excellent banking investigation reputation and has also featured on BBC TV, BBC TV News, ITV, Meridian and Sky News and in Sunday Times, Times, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Mirror editorials.

Please note: We remove editorial links once become aware that they have ceased to work but we have a great many links over a number of years. We would be grateful if you would email us if any editorial links are found to be inactive so that we may remove them. We apologize if you cannot immediately access the specific editorial 'piece' once a link is removed but we will continue to show the headline and date the article was published. From that information the publication concerned may provide an archived link which can be accessed using that information.

UK Bank News - 2005

Bank with us or else - Britain's biggest bank has slapped a ban on rival customers at peak times. HSBC has put up signs in its 1500 branches warning that other account holders will not be served between 11am and 2pm. It insisted yesterday that the unprecedented move was meant only to improve the service for its own 10million customers.

But critics said it was effectively a way of forcing those in areas where there is no choice of banks into taking out an account with HSBC. Consumer groups fear the decision will hit rural customers who have been the main victims of the shrinking branch network. In many villages there is only one bank and getting to another a few miles away can be tricky, particularly for the elderly. There are fears that other banks are almost certain to impose similar measures if they believe it will help cut queues in their own branches.

HSBC doubled the fee for rival customers transactions from 2.50 in January - a few months before announcing the largest earnings in British corporate history. The banking group, whose executives receive multi-million-pound payouts, notched up record pre-tax profits of 10billion, a 35% increase on the previous year. Eddy Weatherill, from the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS), said: 'Banks really do work at every little area to squeeze as much from each customer as they possibly can. They are manipulating customers to get from them as much as they possibly can whilst giving them as little as possible.'

Although many Internet users bank on line, figures show that 50% of HSBC customers still visit a branch at least once a month. HSBC is already under growing attack from customers for a recent programme of branch closures. It has closed down one branch every week this year, leaving many of its older customers feeling let down and isolated. - Daily Mail 19/12/2005

Overdraft charges soar by a third - Bank charges for customers who slip into the red have soared by almost a third in two years. Research reveals that increases in fees for bounced items, when the overdraft limit is exceeded, are soaring ahead of the cost of living. The average charge for an unpaid cheque, standing order or direct debit has risen by just under 32% since 2003. The average figure for each item is more than 30, even though the cost to the bank is negligible. The pain is multiplied by the fact that most banks impose punishing interest rates of close to 30% on unauthorized overdrafts.

The increases are feeding record profits at the big five banks - which are expected to top 30billion this year. Lib Dem MP Susan Kramer, a member of the Commons Treasury Select Committee, called for an inquiry. 'These are excessive charges and could push people already in financial difficulties over the edge,' she said 'The banks are treating bounced cheques as a nice little earner at the expense of the public.

'An increase in bank charges of more than 30% over two years is unacceptable and I think they require investigation at the highest level through the OFT and then on to the Competition Commission.'

Analysis reveals the charge for a bounced cheque is up 7.75 or 31.67% in 2 years. The Independent Banking Advisory Service consumer group accused the Government of failing to protect the public against bank rip-offs. Founder Eddy Weatherill said: 'These charges are generated automatically by computers. The true cost to the bank is just a fraction of a penny for each bounced item, yet they are hitting customers with more than 30. These are extortionate charges by any measure.' The surge in bank charges has been identified by the centre for economics and Business Research as a key cause of rising inflation. - Daily Mail 13/12/2005

MP's to quiz lenders in probe over access to basic accounts and credit - Banks and building societies are to be quizzed by MPs amid Treasury concerns that people are being denied access to basic accounts and credit. The cross - party Treasury Select Committee yesterday launched an investigation. The committee chairman, said; "There are still too many individuals excluded from the affordable credit and savings markets." One banker said: "Financial inclusion is a huge area. This enquiry needs to be focused if it is to have any impact." But Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, which campaigns for better service from banks, while welcoming it, said that the inquiry was long overdue. - Financial Times 16/11/2005

Time's up for banks on cheque clearing rip-off - The time banks take to clear a cheque is at last to become the subject of a major investigation. Delays in the system comes at a cost to customers who often become overdrawn when money is not credited to their accounts as fast as it could be. Meanwhile, the banks profit by charging customers penalties, usually about 25, when an account is overdrawn or a cheque bounces. The OFT yesterday announced that a task force will investigate the system. It wants clearing times speeded up. The National Consumer Council's Ed Mayo said: 'A donkey could deliver cheques faster than banks can put money into customer's accounts.'

Eddy Weatherill, founder of the consumer pressure group IBAS, said: 'The way the banks have twisted and turned on this issue is a scandal. They have delayed all attempts to speed up cheque processing. There is absolutely no justification for the delays. This is just another example of pure greed by the banks. They make money by slowing processing and clearing, so it is not in their interest to do anything about it.' The Forum of Private Business claims UK banks are bottom of the European league on speed of processing. - Daily Mail 08/11/2005

How banks charge 100 for 5 overdraft - Going just 5 overdrawn can cost customers 100 in bank fees and crippling interest charges, a report will show today. Overdraft charges and other penalties have soared by 15 to 16 per cent in the past year it will say. The findings make a monopoly inquiry into the activities of high-street banks more likely according to city analysts. The Government might also propose a windfall tax on profits - which are expected to reach 30 billion for the big banks this year.

The report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research - found that soaring bank charges had pushed up the cost of living. Angus McCrone, senior economist at the centre, said that the Government which is already looking for ways to raise taxes to balance its books, could target the banks with a windfall tax. Someone going just a few pounds overdrawn can be hit with a huge bill,' said Dan Newbolt of finance industry journal Moneyfacts. 'There is a very big profit margin.'

The Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS), a consumer group, has been calling for a windfall tax on banks for two years. 'We see the tax as being a powerful weapon to make the banks realise they cannot go on exploiting customers,' said the service's founder, Eddy Weatherill yesterday. 'They are guilty of massive rip-offs and profiteering. We see charges going up, unfair sales practices, poor value products. They have a stranglehold on the nation's finances. The profits are obscene. This is one industry that can clearly afford to pay a windfall tax.' The Tories imposed a windfall tax on the banks in 1980, while Labour did the same to the utilities when it came to power in 1997. - Daily Mail 10/10/2005

Credit giant accused of 'pure greed' over 25 fee - MBNA's move to introduce an annual fee of 25 was disclosed this week. MBNA is writing to 40,000 customers telling them the fee will be introduced next month. There were suspicions last night the fee will spread to all the firm's seven million customers with other banks and card issuers following suit. Of the 72.4million credit cards currently circulating in Britain fewer than 5% impose an annual fee. MBNA's move could see fees imposed more widely. The introduction of fees is one of a number of ploys used by card companies to boost income and squeeze customers.

The OFT recently ruled that handling charges imposed on retailers to approve credit card sales were both unfair and too high. These charges totaling around 1billion a year have been passed onto customers by higher bills on all sales. It is now clear that card companies are taking revenge for being told to reduce the card transaction fees by pushing up other charges.

The consumer group, the Independent Banking Advisory Service, condemned the ruse and said; 'This is totally cynical. They are finally forced to end one rip-off after many years of delaying tactics and manoeuvring, so they switch to another one. I fully expect others to follow MBNA. This is pure greed.' - Daily Mail 07/10/2005

I sent 26,000 and it's lost in the post - A serious security flaw in a postal banking service could expose thousands of small businesses to fraud - and leave them without compensation. The problem was uncovered by estate agency owner Aidan Lynch, who has been left 26,000 out of pocket after cash payments were intercepted in the post en route to his bank. He opened the Direct Business Cheque account with Bank of Scotland for his estate agency, Home to Home, four years ago and started to use its postal deposit service.

Customers may pay in up to 2,500 in cash using Royal Mail Special Delivery envelopes. But he later discovered that 12 of 49 packages he had posted had not reached the bank. The insurance liability rests with Royal Mail, but it refuses to honour the claim. Bank of Scotland has since admitted its customer services was found wanting and that the case had dragged on too long. IBAS believes that if the system is susceptible to fraud, it should be abandoned.

The IBAS spokesman said: "There has been a lot of evidence of cash, cards and cheques being intercepted in the post. If this system cannot be made to work safely, it should be scrapped." - Financial Mail on Sunday 17/07/2005

Thinking big can be so bad for business - Small firms are paying a high price for complacency over their banking. They could save over 136 million a year by shopping around for better accounts, according to new research. IBAS believe that many small firms fail to identify the real banking needs of their enterprise - "If you are a cash-handling business there's no point in going to a bank that will charge you for cash transactions, in the same way that you have a business plan, you need a financial plan. What do you need from an account? Compare two or three banks and look behind the hype and find the real charges" Many have found the switching process to be very easy.

But, IBAS warns: "Switching can still be slow and difficult, particularly for companies in debt to a bank they want to leave. They should not take the first offer, but should try bargaining. And remember that banks keep everything, so when negotiating, customers should have complete records." Enterprise - Financial Mail on Sunday 26/06/2005

The banks need to wise up on hi-tech fraud - A flurry of letters from readers who have had money stolen from their current accounts indicates this problem is widespread (ATM fraud). It would also appear that some banks are failing to comply with their own code. This stipulates that if a person has been a victim of fraud, he will not be liable for the costs, unless the bank can show the customer acted fraudulently or without reasonable care. In one case even though some transactions appeared suspicious - at one time more than 360 was withdrawn from three separate machines within the space of six minutes - Lloyds TSB did not consider this evidence of fraud. In despair our reader contacted IBAS.

In this case IBAS succeeded in getting Lloyds to reconsider and after three months wrangling, our reader received their 5,000 back. Banks need to address this problem. It will be interesting to see if the Banking Code Standards Board takes action. It may have to hammer home the message that customers should not have to pay if a banks security systems are breached by fraudsters. - Money Comment - The Sunday Telegraph 12/06/2005

Fancy some drum and bass with your banking or some dancing while you discuss standing orders? Then the nearest HSBC is the place to go. Cynically, The Independent Banking Advisory Service has dismissed the idea as a ploy to distract customers from noticing how long they might queue for service. Surely not. - Times Business 10/06/2005

Money, money, money. A bank that makes its customers listen. - A visit to the bank will not necessarily be a happier experience in the future for HSBC customers, but it will certainly be a less muted affair after the company disclosed yesterday that it planned to play music to them while they stand in the queue waiting to be served. The bank shrugged off suggestions from consumer groups that it was hiring a DJs as a gimmick to distract customers from slow service.

Within a year, clients at 400 HSBC branches will hear a mixture of pop music, news bulletins, weather forecasts, chat and phone-ins as they queue. IBAS, a consumer watchdog, questioned whether the move was to cover up for bad service and suggested that HSBC do more to eliminate queues. A spokesman for IBAS, said: "One wonders whether (the radio station) is a ploy. At the end of the day, HSBC is expecting people to be waiting." - The Times 10/06/2005

My son, victim of the credit pushers - Michael Francis was mentally ill and on benefits but Natwest lent him 15,000 he could never pay back. He killed himself a year later. NatWest stands accused of monstrous behaviour for lending 15,000 to Michael Francis, a 33-year-old paranoid schizophrenic living on benefits. Tragically, Michael has killed himself. Though his mother, Jean, does not blame NatWest directly, she believes the bank's actions might have contributed to the suicide. She is adamant, however, that NatWest's decision to lend her son the money was at best 'reckless'. The five-year loan, swallowing more than half his monthly benefits, came with costly protection insurance. In view of Michael's long illness and his inability to hold down a job, it was not worth the paper it was written on.

NatWest said 'The loan was granted based on the information that was provided by Mr Francis, credit scoring and the conduct of his bank account'. It added: 'NatWest has strict lending criteria. It is not in our interest or our customers' interest to lend money that cannot be repaid.'

Yet consumer groups are horrified by the fact that Michael was granted such a big loan by a High Street bank, even though he was living on benefits. 'It's monstrous,' says Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS). 'This is not just irresponsible lending, it's apocalyptic, it's unimaginable, it's inconceivable.' Weatherill says the Government must now urgently rein in the excesses of the banks. 'Irresponsible lending is a major issue that the Government must tackle head on,' he says. - Financial Mail 22/05/2005

Useless loan insurance is costing borrowers millions - Borrowers are forking out millions of pounds on useless loan insurance and dramatically boosting bank profits, new research reveals. A report into High Street banks by leading investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston concludes they are taking around 2 billion in payment protection premiums making between 1 billion and 1.5 billion profit on it. Banks are often accused of putting pressure on borrowers to take out the insurance because they earn fat commissions of between one half and two-fifths of your monthly premium. On some personal loans, you can pay more in insurance premiums than interest. Lenders have earned well over 6 billion on this money spinner since 2000,

CSFB says. Among the larger banks, it estimates that Lloyds TSB is making nearly 500 million of its total 3.5 billion profits - or 14pc - from premiums it takes to cover loan insurance. with Barclays, the figure is 11pc. Eddy Weatherill from IBAS, set up to help customers battle against banks, says: 'The front-end payment for the insurance is heavily balanced in the bank's favour - cheaper monthly insurance cover would spread the cost.' - Money Mail 20/04/2005

Loss leader's 2m pay day - The boss of Lloyds TSB was at the centre of a "rewards for failure" storm last night. Chief executive Eric Daniels came under fire after it emerged he pocketed an 80 per cent pay rise last year despite profits plunging 20 per cent. The lavish payments angered union leaders already annoyed with Lloyds for "exporting" jobs to India. Total boardroom pay at Lloyds is up 20 per cent to almost 8.5million. But watchdogs are as angry as the unions about the boardroom bonanza. Eddy Weatherill, head of the Independent banking Advisory Service, said: "This will make customers' blood boil. Lloyds TSB's performance has been poor compared with many of it's competitors, yet Mr Daniels's rewards are solid gold. But, it's not a great shock. It reflects the whole attitude of Lloyds." The leap in Daniel's pay also contrasts with the payout to shareholders. Total dividend for the year was frozen at 34.2p per share for the third year in a row. - Daily Mirror 05/04/2005

Banks blasted for their billions - Banks are resisting calls for a windfall tax despite record profits. HSBC and Barclays record profits have led to calls for a windfall tax to be imposed across the whole sector. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of IBAS, the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: 'Banks treat their customers very shoddily while demanding sky-high charges for inferior products. A windfall tax is the only way to make this industry sit up and take notice.' - Money Observer - April 2005

Families who face lifetime of credit card debts - Thousands of credit card users face a lifetime of debt because of 'reckless and irresponsible' lending, it was claimed yesterday. Consumer groups said banks were encouraging people on low incomes to take out cards they cannot afford in a ruthless drive to increase profits. The accusations came after it emerged that banks wrote off a record 6billion of bad debts last year - double the figure of five years ago. Credit card debts alone account for 2billion, a staggering twenty-fold increase in ten years which shows how far the credit culture has spiralled out of control.

Although banks describe the bad debts as 'written off', the phrase is misleading. Banks almost always pass them to debt recovery agencies who aggressively pursue people through the courts. The process can drag on for years, by which time interest charges have massively increased the size of the debt. Homes or other assets can then be seized.

Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) said: 'This is a sign of severally irresponsible, reckless lending policies of many banks which are seeking to inflate their profits for short term gains. They are interested in profit, not consumer well-being, so they lend money to people who can't afford to pay it back and face a lifetime of debt as a consequence. When you see the banks have written off 6billion it sounds as if they are shouldering the cost, but the truth is that consumers will pay. The human cost will be considerable in terms of suffering and who knows how many more suicides we will see because of that.'

Personal bankruptcies are now at record levels, with half of all bankrupts under 30. Most have been swamped by credit card debts, loans and excessive mortgages from lenders indifferent to their ability to pay. Earlier this year, a Treasury Select Committee condemned banks for giving misleading information on interest and imposing punishing charges for late payment. - Daily Mail 29/03/2005

Barclays could get a bill for lost weekend - Angry customers who were left without cash by Barclays Bank over the Easter weekend are demanding compensation. Others say they will switch to rival banks after a technical error froze five million bank accounts. The bank, which made record profits of more than 4billion last year, is being accused of incompetence for failing to provide a basic financial service on one of the busiest shopping and leisure weekends of the year. Eddy Weatherill, of IBAS consumer group, called on customers to complain. 'Anyone who tried to obtain money from a cash-point and was unable to do so should be compensated.' he said yesterday. 'They need to make their voices heard. If the banks do not provide the service that they promise then there should be consequences.' The fault which put 1,500 of Barclays 4,000 cash machines out of order between 1am and 5pm on Sunday also affected the bank's telephone and Internet banking services. - Daily Mail 29/03/2005

Millions stranded as cash machines seize up - A massive computer failure at Barclays Bank left millions of customers unable to draw out Easter cash yesterday. Five million current accounts were frozen, so holders could not use cash machines, when the bank's computers were paralysed by the clocks going forward. The astonishing blunder also put 1,500 of Barclays' 4,000 cash machines out of order, hitting many more customers. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of the consumer group IBAS, called the fiasco 'disgraceful'. He said: 'It's a really stupid mistake. They should have enough foresight to plan their systems according to the calendar and know exactly what's going on. This shows the one-sidedness of the banking system. The customer is left with egg on his face but the bank won't be penalised in any shape or form for having systems that don't operate properly. It's always the customer that is penalised.' The practice of moving the clocks forward to British Summer Time in Spring was introduced in 1916. - Daily Mail 28/03/2005

Rip-Off banks do loyal clients out of millions - Britain's big banks are conning their most loyal customers out of millions of pounds a year by failing to offer them the best rates. Savers and borrowers who stick with their bank through thick and thin are likely to suffer huge financial penalties because they are not offered the competitive deals designed to attract new customers, a study of the UK's banking system has found. The report, from savings account provider ING Direct, comes hard on the heels of news earlier this week that HSBC had posted record profits of almost 10billion. Eddy Weatherill of consumer group IBAS said: "The big banks have always made their money by penalizing those customers they considered 'captive'. These people reasonably think the bank will be honourable towards them because they act honourably towards the bank." ING said 40 percent of individual customers who had left a financial institution in the past year did so because of their bank's two tier approach to dealing with customers.  Weatherill added: "If people moved from their current bank and looked for a better deal they would make savings and get better service." - Daily Express - Your Money 02/03/2005

High St Branches Cut - Sites axed despite 10BN profit. Britain's biggest bank is axing 60 branches to save money despite raking in 320-a-second profit last year. Union leaders claim they plan to cut 30 branches in the next 6 months and intend cutting opening hours at 600 branches by up to three hours. Watchdogs accused the bank of "profiteering" and called for a windfall tax. Eddy Weatherill, chair of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "The big banks have been plundering UK customers for years." He described the closures as  "yet another slap on the face for customers who have been abused for years." - Daily Mirror - Your Money 01/03/2005

HSBC under attack over UK's biggest ever profits - HSBC was accused yesterday of fleecing customers to pump up profits and fund huge pay packages for executives. Five unnamed staff members shared around 36million last year. the bank paid an extra 32% in salaries and bonuses to directors. Chairman Sir John Bond received 5.75million in pay, bonuses and shares. His pension was topped up to 9.2million from 7.9million. Eddy Weatherill of IBAS, said: 'This is a gravy train. They are fleecing customers to pay for a massive pay bonanza and record profits.' While senior staff enjoy multi-million-pound rewards, unions are threatening to strike over low rises for 20,000 workers, including 10% who will get nothing. - Daily Mail 01/03/2005

Banks face cheque clearance clampdown - Consumers can demand to know why it takes their bank so long to clear cheques under new rules introduced from today. Currently, it takes longer to clear payments in the UK than in nay other of the G10 nations, even though banks have the technology to clear cheques and electronic payments instantly. Many hold onto customers' money for between three and 10 days, raking in millions of pounds investing in interbank markets. Under changes to the Banking Code, banks and building societies will have to explain clearing cycles and advise customers if they take longer than the 'standard' clearing cycle. Which? claims the Code should have been stronger and has threatened to leave the Payment Taskforce, set up to review the clearing process, by the end of April unless banks give a commitment to give customers a better deal. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of IBAS said: ' I can't believe that the UK is meant to be central to the global banking industry and it can take 10 days to clear a cheque.' - This is Money 01/03/2005

HSBC denies profits accusations - HSBC unveiled profits of more than 9billion but denied the record figure by a London based bank had been made at the expense of UK customers. The 37% rise in annual profits forms part of a 30billion industry-wide haul that has left UK banks facing calls for a windfall tax and accusations the sector runs a "complex monopoly". HSBC said it's profits - equivalent to 1 million an hour - owed more to growth and favourable conditions in the United States and China, as less than a quarter of it's earnings came from the UK. However, Eddy Weatherill, of IBAS described the profits reported by banks in recent weeks as "astronomical" and said the introduction of a windfall tax was long overdue. He added: "This is a system that is trying to charge for almost everything that happens, regardless of the service. If banks can't put their houses in order then somebody has to help them - that can only be the Government." He backed comments from Don Cruickshank, who carried out a Government-commissioned review five years ago and said last week that he believed nothing had been done to boost competition among banks since then. - Daily Mail / Guardian / Daily Express 28/02/2005

HSBC announces record profit - HSBC today revealed the biggest ever profit by a British based company and faced a strike from it's staff. The figure is equivalent to almost 1.2 million an hour and up 35 percent. AMICUS chief Rob O'Neill said: "Some staff face the double whammy of no pay rise and seeing their bonus cut at a time when the bank is making more money than ever." Consumer groups were also critical Ed Mayo, chief executive of the National Consumer Council, said: "There is a yawning gap between levels of bank profit and customer satisfaction." Eddy Weatherill, of consumer group the Independent Banking Advisory Service, called for a windfall tax on the banks' profits. He said: "Despite being a global player, you can see these figures as yet another sign that the banks are taking vast profits from the consumer." - This is London - Evening Standard and Daily Mail 28/02/2005

The Cruickshank Report on UK Money Transmission in Chapter 3, established that this was a monopoly by the big UK banks - that position has not been corrected by the Government. Bank consumers have continued to be financially disadvantaged (or in plain English 'ripped off') since the Cruickshank report was published. The banks have been allowed to enjoy a further 5 years of monopolistic profiteering in an area which affects every UK consumer in their daily life - this is the reason that IBAS has renewed our demands on Government for a 10 billion windfall tax on this industry. - 01.03.2005

Slow cash makes fast money - In the age of high speed electronic communications, it can still take more than a week to be able to draw money from a single deposited cheque. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which yesterday announced record pre-tax profits for last year of 8.1bn, along with the Alliance and Leicester and the Co-operative Bank took the longest to clear cheques, in a survey by The Herald of 12 of the major high street banks. Even an electronic money transfer there are an estimated 3.5 billion transactions a year by phone or the internet will take a minimum of three and a maximum of five working days to be credited to accounts. That time, as the adage goes, is money, as the bank can then use the uncleared amount to earn interest on it. Customers in Britain have to wait longer than almost all their western European counterparts for funds to pass through the clearing process. While 12 million cheques are written every day in the UK, it is only the ones paid in to Barclays that will benefit from instant withdrawals and interest, before the clearing cycle has barely had time to revolve. Consumer groups say banks are making millions every year from the limbo of uncleared funds.

The government initially accepted recommendations made in the Cruickshank report of 2000 to pass new legislation and establish a regulator to improve payments system pricing and access, but little has changed for the consumer. Instead, last year the government opted to set up a taskforce, led by the Office of Fair Trading, which is expected to report in April on proposals to improve clearing of electronic transfers. An industry implementation group will have six months to come up with its preferred method of delivering change and a timetable. "These are matters they have been aware of for a considerable length of time."
Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "It is a disgrace that it takes that long to clear funds. The situation is shambolic and it is well past time for change." - The Herald 25/02/2005

The bank that cashed in at 15,410 a minute - Royal Bank of Scotland has unveiled profits of 8.1billion - up 15% on last year - the biggest yet by a British bank. RBS which owns NatWest makes 69% of it's profits in Britain, where it ahs 20million individual and corporate customers. Eddy Weatherill, of consumer group the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: 'RBS is doing nothing but profiteering at the expense of customers.' - Daily Mail 25/02/2005

High Street banks prepare for backlash - The major UK banks were today braced for a backlash against annual profits that analysts believe will approach 30 billion - 1,000 a second. Such figures are likely to spark anger among consumer groups and stoke calls for the Government to slap a windfall tax on banks in the run up to the General Election. Banks have been criticized by consumer champions for exploiting their dominance of the UK high street to overcharge and baffle customers with complex products. Although Barclays' profits appear large in comparison to many other UK firms, they are likely to be dwarfed by those of NatWest owner Royal Bank of Scotland which is expected to unveil a surplus of 7.93billion. HSBC - the biggest UK bank by market value - is set to receive the greatest flak for a profits haul that analysts predict will total 9.4 billion. Outrage among consumer groups will be fuelled further by the profits of Halifax owner HBOS and Lloyds TSB which are expected to reach 4.68 billion and 3.33 billion respectively.

Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent banking Advisory Service, said: "We don't buy into any of the excuses for banks making a lot more money. We want them to make fair profits, but the inference from the whole industry making more profit every year even when the banking regulators are snapping at their heels points to an industry going hell for leather to cane the customer." Which?, said its polls consistently found the big banks to be offering inferior products and poorer service compared with building societies and smaller rivals. Mick McAteer of Which? said: "The big banks exploit the stranglehold they have on the market - we have got no problems with banks making big profits as long as they make them fairly and in a competitive market." Justin Urquhart-Stewart, of Seven Investment Management, said it was notable that the level of cut-price competition in ordinary banking services was low in comparison with other areas. "It's not a cartel but it does show signs of being really quite cosy," he said. - Manchester Business 09/02/2005

Cashpoint Rip-Off: Hole in the wall gang's 8m heist - Fury as firms fleece auto-teller customers. Scots are being forced to pay 8million a year to get their own money from cash-points. More than 1500 of the 4500-plus cash-points in Scotland charge. Critics accused the banks of a 'sleight of hand'. IBAS ceo Eddy Weatherill said: 'It's quite clear to us that banks have been desperate to introduce fee charging for years. It has been planned because it's a costly business for them to provide ATM's outside their branches.' Around 40% of fee charging machines are in rural areas, miles from the nearest free machine. - Sunday Mail 06/02/2005

UK Bank profits head for 1,000 a second - As UK banks gear up for the results season two things are certain: the first is that reported profits will soar to record heights - about 30billion, analysts predict, or 1,000 a second. The second is that those numbers will trigger a wave of protest from consumer groups - amplified, perhaps, by the proximity of a general election, which may tempt politicians to bash-the-banks. They will not have to look far for ammunition.

While shareholders will be delighted, organizations representing consumers are getting in their retaliation first. 'If competition was working then big banks wouldn't be making this level of profit' says Which? Eddy Weatherill from IBAS adds: "The industry seems out of control. We are not opposed to banks making a fair profit but we are opposed to the industry making excessive profits." UK-focused banks such as HBOS and Lloyds TSB argue they are making much of their profit from business banking and corporate lending rather than UK Consumers.

The banks argue that UK retail banking profitability is falling and they have cut costs to compensate for falling profit margins and say that Net interest margins - the profit made on lending - has been falling for years. - Financial Times 31/01/2005

Banks make 1,000 in profit every second - The high street banks earned almost 1,000 a second last year, it has emerged. They are due to unveil record total profits of 30billion, say analysts. The astonishing figure is 20% up on the previous year and will dismay their millions of customers.

The banks are accused of profiteering on the back of a tide of debt - which hit 1trillion last year - through rip-off interest rates, charges, heavy penalty fees and irresponsible lending. Eddy Weatherill, of consumer group the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) called for the Government to impose a windfall tax on the big banks. 'These profits are the result of naked greed,' he said. 'The Government made big promises about cracking down on rip-offs but has delivered nothing meaningful. 'A windfall tax is the only way to make this industry sit up and start to give customers a fair deal.' - Daily Mail 27/01/2005

Note: 1trillion is a thousand billion pounds (1,000,000,000,000)

1,000 A SECOND - Britain's biggest banks made a record 30billion fortune from their customers last year - almost 1,000 a second. The astonishing profits to be announced next month - work out at more than 80million a day. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, demanded a windfall tax on the big banks and tougher regulation to stop customers being ripped off. He said: "We perceive a continuing imbalance between good services and good products and the amount of profit engineered for banks. At the same time we see the standard of services declining and the profitability of the big banks escalate dramatically. Banks get away with murder on a daily basis and treat their customers very shoddily while demanding sky-high charges for inferior products." David Fleming, of the banking union Amicus, said: "The banks are making huge profits and closing branches at the expense of local communities while staff are not being adequately rewarded for the hard work that they do." - Sunday Mirror 23/01/2005

Banks raking in 30k a minute. Britain's banks were last night accused of profiteering at the expense of customers who continue to spiral into debt as new figures show profits of 30k a minute. According to the Nationwide Building Society financial institutions made an astonishing 15.8billion last year while Britain's debt mountain soared to more than 1trillion. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) said: "Banks should not be allowed to profiteer at the expense of customers". - Daily Express  11/01/2005

30k A Minute. Customers rage as banks coin it. Banks make more than 30k profit every minute while giving customers a raw deal, a report says. Calling for "good value, fairness and honesty", Nationwide Building Society boss Stuart Bernau said: "Banks are making record profits but some providers continue to offer poor value. People are dissatisfied. The industry must rebuild trust." The Independent Banking Advisory Group watchdog added: "Banks are getting greedier. The sooner the FSA or Government names the worst offenders the better." - Daily Mirror 11/01/2005

70m Mr Cashpoint. Mark Mills heads a 70m cash machine empire which charges bank customers between 1.50 and 1.85 to withdraw their money. In just 4 years his annual turnover has rocketed from 1m to a massive 36.8m while profits have jumped from 50k to a projected 7.8m. Five years ago almost all cash-points were free. However Britain's high street banks with profits of 30billion this year, are scrapping free machines or selling them off to firms which introduce fees. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, described the numbers as "obscene". He said: "People who can least afford it don't have the option of going 20 miles to a machine that does not charge. No one can blame people like Mr Mills for taking advantage. Banks have provided them with a great opportunity." - Sunday Mirror 02/01/2005

UK Bank News 2004

Cash card victim's eight-week wait after thieves clone his plastic, bank customer faces catalogue of errors and is forced to borrow. How long does it take for a new bank card to arrive? Up to two months if you are with Barclays and your name is Guy Lodge. Criminals fixed a skimming device to the cash machine and cloned his card to steal 800 pounds from the account in three days. The bank refunded the stolen cash and told Guy they would send a replacement card. But Guy, a political researcher from Oxford, says: "There was a catalogue of bungles and errors including the security details for my online banking being sent to my neighbour's address" After almost two months, Guy was beginning to despair. Two months to the day on which his card was skimmed Guy received a new card. A good will payment of 300 pounds has been offered. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive at the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) says that there is a growing number of complaints about delays in receiving bank cards. 'It is unacceptable for customers to be left without a card,' he says. 'I would like to see a system introduced by the banks so that customers know exactly how their fraud case will be dealt with and when they will receive their new card.' APACS estimate that  fraud involving a card happens every eight seconds. - Financial Mail  28/11/2004

It's the nagging bank. Pay up or else, computer will warn credit card customers. Bank customers overdue on their credit card payments are to be harassed with automated phone calls telling them to pay up. The idea is to help clients avoid more serious money problems but consumer groups say the computer calls will simply frighten people. The technology, developed by UK company Adeptra, allows banks to trigger calls to thousands of people at the click of a mouse. Eddy Weatherill of IBAS, the Independent Banking Advisory Service, warned: "I think many people will feel harassed by these calls. There would have to be careful controls on how many calls can be made in a day or week. It seems to me this is all about putting the frighteners on customers to pay up." - Daily Mail 24/11/2004

Clashpoint. ATM profits rocket with YOUR money. The company at the centre of the cash point rip-off row has TRIPLED its sales. CARDPOINT, which charges between 1.50 and 1.75 for a cash withdrawal, amassed full year sales of 36.8million against 12.2million a year ago. Cardpoint say that three-quarters of customers had used the same machine more than once in the past month. Eddy Weatherill, Chief executive of consumer group the Independent Banking Advisory Service, was appalled at the numbers. He told Sun City: "People are paying a very high price to get their own money out of these machines. We would urge them only to use cash machines where they don't have to pay." - Sun City  23/11/2004

61m cash and grab. Cash machine crime has soared by an astonishing 85 per cent in the past year. Hole-in-the-wall gangs have stolen 61.1m in the past year using a variety of spying and card cloning tricks. London and the South East recorded a massive 129 per cent higher than the year before and Scotland even higher at 134 per cent. The average taken from an account using a cloned card is 1,800 but the figure can be much higher. Eddy Weatherill, of  IBAS, the Independent Banking Advisory Service accused the banks of 'gross negligence'. 'It is absolutely extraordinary that these gangs are able to fit devices to machines outside banks,' he said. 'These are supposed to be secure buildings. It is disgraceful that they don't have the necessary security in place to pick up the problem and grab the perpetrators. For many years the banks have argued that cash machine fraud is impossible, it cannot happen, yet here we have an admission that it is a huge problem.' He said victims frequently found the banks unsympathetic. 'Customers and their families are often placed under suspicion if they report this sort of fraud.' The card fraud gangs operate using a mixture of shoulder surfing, the Lebanese loop, door skimming and ATM machine skimming with a card reader and remote computers, which are all used to acquire customer pin and card information, together with small cameras and video devices and 'old fashioned' pick pocketing and mugging. - Daily Mail  11/11/2004

Record number of homes being repossessed. The nightmare of home repossession returned to haunt Middle Britain yesterday as actions to evict families reached a three-year high. Mortgage lenders launched confiscation proceedings against 18,513 owners, the highest since the beginning of 2000 and an increase of 15 per cent on last year. The courts also made 11,186 repossession orders between May and August, the highest number since 2001. "These are very significant figures and are extremely worrying," said Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service. "In 1991, more than 75,000 people handed back the keys to their homes and the misery and stress caused was immeasurable. The last thing we want to see is a return to that, not least because any large scale evictions this time round would be even worse. There is now no state help or safety net. Owners only have to miss two mortgage payments to be threatened with repossession." A CML spokesperson said: "We expect repossessions to rise modestly next year because of higher interest rates which feed through to mortgage costs". - Daily Express  28/10/2004

The end of free cash machines - One in three now cost you money. Bank customers are paying 60m for using cash machines in the latest High Street rip-off. Just four years after a Daily Express crusade forced banks to scrap hole-in-the-wall charges, new independent operators have brought them back. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of IBAS, said: "The speed and the scale of the transformation has been amazing with a dramatic increase in the spread of machines that charge for withdrawals. It is quite immoral that the banks are making even more profit from selling their cash machines to companies that will impose fees." - Daily Express  21/09/2004

Cash-point robbery. Banks are accused of profiteering by stealth as hole in the wall fees spread to one in three machines. It is estimated that they will outnumber free outlets within four years. Banks are cashing in both by selling off free machines to companies that charge, and then by buying up those firms. Eddy Weatherill of IBAS said: 'The whole thing is a cynical charade by the greedy big banks. For years they have boasted about the era of free banking and claimed that people could get their cash from machines without paying a fee. But all the time they have been planning to divert the running of this service to somebody else in the full knowledge that their customers will have to pay. The speed and scale of the transformation has been amazing.' - Daily Mail  21/09/2004     

Travellers unhappy about charges for using credit and debit cards abroad should contact the Independent Banking Advisory Service. The financial watchdog says; "We need information to help us pressurise the Office of Fair Trading to investigate." IBAS says banks make 500m a year through hidden charges on the use of credit and debit cards overseas. It adds :"The Nationwide Building Society is the only company that does not charge extra. If it does not need to, neither do the others." - Sunday Times - Directions 29/08/2004

Banks 'Fleece' Holiday Britons. Banks were accused last night of milking holidaymakers and business travellers to the tune of 500 million pounds a year. The cash comes from hidden charges on the use of credit and debit cards abroad. The main charge is a currency conversion fee which typically amounts to 2.75 per cent of the price of everything bought with cards. Rather than detailing the amount on statements , many banks hide it in the conversion calculation. Then there are the extra charges for withdrawals from cash machines. On a credit card the typical fee for a 100 pound withdrawal is 4.75. the debit card equivalent is normally 4.25 per 100. Some banks also add yet another fee each time a debit card is used abroad. The holiday charges were branded 'naked greed' by Eddy Weatherill of IBAS. He said: 'These charges are not clear, not fair and it is about time they stopped. It is expensive enough already to use a credit card, given the extortionate interest rates imposed, but the banks use every trick in the book to squeeze more from customers. If that wasn't bad enough, many of them hide the charges away.' - Daily Mail 24/08/2004

Show more interest in your bank. High street's Big Four make big profits but offer poor service - so it may be time to switch. Britain's biggest  banks continue to make bumper profits, breaking record after record for coining it in. Nor, are these figures one-offs. The combined profits of the Big Four banks rose to almost 20 billion last year. However, while the banks' results are good news for shareholders, campaigners for customers' rights believe the profits have been achieved at the expense of their account-holders. "There has to be something wrong with an industry where companies are continually able to boast record profits," said Eddy Weatherill from the Independent Banking Advisory Service. "This can only reflect profiteering by the banks whose expertise lies in ripping off customers in every conceivable way - poor rates of interest for customers in credit, steep charges on overdrafts and poor value service." That view is shared by the Consumers' Association, which runs the Switch With Which campaign urging customers to dump the big four. - Daily Express - Your Money 04/08/2004

Now it's SIX days to clear Halifax cheques. The interest they earn adds to the 60m 'scam' on customers by banks. One of Britain's biggest banking groups is extending its cheque clearance time by two days. Many customers at Halifax Bank of Scotland - HBOS - will now have to wait six working days to access their money. The change will take place on July 26 and will affect Halifax's Card Cash Account and the Bank of Scotland's Easycash Account, both basic banking accounts. IBAS chief executive slammed the move last night. 'This is prehistoric and obscene,' he said. 'They are being remarkably stupid going against what even the governor of the Bank of England is saying. It makes no sense going backwards. It is greedy and can only be for their benefit, not the customers. There can be no other reason than they need to make a bit more money.' In Sweden, Belgium, Holland and Spain cheques are cleared on the same day. In France and Germany, they take a day to clear. - Daily Mail 13/07/2004

Mortgage Shortfall Debt Claim? Watchdog to quiz B&B on debt tactics. Britain's top consumer watchdog is to investigate complaints about "aggressive and oppressive" debt collection tactics used by Bradford & Bingley. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) this weekend confirmed it had received a complaint from campaign group the Independent Banking Advisory Service.  IBAS alleged the bank had been using heavy-handed measures in its attempts to recover unpaid mortgage debts. "We have spent a long time looking at Bradford & Bingley," said Eddy Weatherill, head of Ibas. "There are a number of cases in which it is not acting like other lenders. It seems to be out of step with the rest of the industry and its practices are more aggressive." Weatherill said the bank had regularly asked customers to repay debts which were well beyond their means. "Nationwide Building Society, for example, has a clear cut policy to act reasonably and to look at each case sympathetically," he added. Ibas claimed Bradford & Bingley's practices contravened OFT guidelines on debt collection which says lenders must not put debtors under undue pressure by, for example, forcing them to raise funds through selling property or further borrowing. IBAS has sent a number of cases illustrating its allegations to the OFT. "We want the watchdog to look at these situations to make sure its guidelines are being policed properly," said Weatherill. - Sunday Express - Your Money 20/06/2004

OFT to probe bank's debt collection drill. The Office of Fair Trading is to look at a complaint made against the debt collection practices of Bradford & Bingley, the mortgage bank. The OFT confirmed yesterday it had received a complaint from the Independent Banking Advisory Service, a campaign group, about the alleged tactics used by B & B when collecting outstanding mortgage debts. The complaints relate to customers whose homes were repossessed by B & B some years ago because of mortgage arrears. The Independent Banking Advisory Service wants the OFT to look at whether B & B adheres to OFT collection guidance, which requires companies to follow strict guidelines in recovering debts from consumers. The IBAS alleges that B & B "made unreasonable and unrealistic demands". It has submitted a number of case studies to the OFT. - Financial Times 17/06/2004 

Lloyds TSB customers revolt over fees. Lloyds TSB is facing a customer revolt over changes to its Gold Service account. The scheme is a so-called "packaged" current account that charges a monthly fee. In return, customers get all the facilities of a current account, plus added features such as travel insurance and discounts on holidays. Many of the high street banks offer packaged accounts - and they are big business. Consumers have opened more than 7m packaged accounts , according to Mintel, a market research group. Mintel estimates that fees on these accounts earned the banks 650m in profits last year. Sales of packaged accounts also count towards bonuses for branch staff. Lloyds TSB has 4m customers with fee-based packaged accounts - more than any other bank. Almost a third of its current accounts charge fees. It launched its Gold Service account in 1990 and has pulled in more than 1m customers. But judging by the complaints received by the Sunday Times, many are thinking of switching to another account - or even another bank - after Lloyds changed the terms and conditions. The monthly fee has gone up from 8 to 10. Customers have also been told that if they want to avoid the fee they must maintain a balance of 2,000 instead of 1,500. A Consumers Association study found that 39% of packaged -account holders had used none, or at most one, of the perks in the past year. A number of other packaged accounts have been altered in the Lloyds review. Banks and Building Societies are allowed to change the terms and conditions of accounts at any time, provided they follow the basic rules set down in the Banking Code. Eddy Weatherill of IBAS a consumer group, said: "The Banking Code gives the banks the opportunity to profiteer by increasing their fees at the drop of a hat." - Sunday Times - Money 30/05/2004

We pay for cash at one in 3 ATM's. One in three cash machines now charges customers for getting out their own money. And the figures may soon soar, with the Halifax planning to sell a quarter of its machines to an outside operator that charges up to 1.75 for each withdrawal. At present, some 17,000 machines across the country impose a fee, compared to just 2,946 three years ago. Customers will spend 54 million to use such machines this year. Furious consumer groups last night accused the banks and finance companies of 'introducing charges by stealth'. IBAS accused the industry of 'picking customers' pockets'. Eddy Weatherill said: 'This is about making more profits for the banks through introducing charges by stealth. All the major banks have been announcing record profits yet they are constantly looking at ways to cut costs and squeeze customers. Halifax is clearly making a mint out of dismantling its network of free-access machines.' Four years ago the industry promised to drop plans to impose charges on cash machines in the wake of customer anger and a Daily mail campaign. 'The banks gave the impression that they were consumers' champions in ensuring the survival of free-to-use cash machines, when in reality they are actively participating in a move to charging,' Mr Weatherill said yesterday - Daily Mail 19/05/2004

Marks is accused of loan rate scam. Marks & Spencer is facing claims that it has deviously pushed up interest rates on its personal loans in a cynical money-making ploy. A leaked e-mail from inside the company suggests the scam is designed purely to boost profits at the troubled retailer. It indicates that huge numbers of customers face increased charges on the pretext that they are a higher risk than others. But the reality, it is claimed, is 'purely to increase profitability'. The firm's finance arm - M & S Money - typically charges 19.9% on loans from 1,000 to 2,999. However, many customers will be paying more. The best deals are with Internet banks, such as Egg, at 10.9 per cent. M & S is now facing a furious backlash from customers, while a consumer group has demanded an inquiry by the Office of Fair Trading. The Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) consumer lobby group described the new revelation as scandalous. Spokesman Eddy Weatherill said: 'This is a serious own goal by a once respected High Street name. it suggests  a devious culture, serious profiteering and an abuse of position.' He rejected the claim that the e-mail sender was ignorant of M & s policy.' A manager in the underwriting department is in an ideal position to know what has been happening and the impact on customers.' The e-mail was leaked to the Guardian newspaper. - Daily Mail 14/05/2004

How to hold banks to account. Britain's big four banks are making money at the rate of 60m a day - or 700 per second. By the time it takes you to read this paragraph the profits clocked up by the big four - Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and RBS-NatWest - will have risen by more than 10,000. Wonderful news for shareholders but a different story for the customers. More than 60 per cent of us bank with the Big Four but most only get a paltry 0.1 per cent interest on current accounts and pay overdraft rates up to twice as high as necessary. "Banks are collectively benefiting from a whole series of semi-monopolistic practices, which are highly lucrative in a period of record consumer debt and borrowing." Said Lib-Dem Shadow Chancellor Vincent Cable. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of IBAS, says apathy plays a large part in most people's reluctance to seek out better deals. "Too many people pay no attention to their bank statements, while the banks themselves keep their information to themselves and don't allow customers access to it to plan their own financial stability," he says. "Basically, banks need to re-invent themselves in such a way that they can regain the trust and integrity they've lost over the last 10 years." - Manchester Evening News - Personal Finance - 03/05/2004

Can you bank on your bank? Voluntary regulations are leaving consumers at the mercy of the banks. In March the Office of Fair Trading condemned banks' widespread practice of not paying interest on transferred money until a couple of days after a standing order or cheque has left a payee's account. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said that this practice has persisted because banks are regulated through a voluntary code. This means that even if the practice is banned, and the Banking Code changed, banks could simply refuse to subscribe to it..... Jerry Fearnley, director of the British Bankers Association, a sponsor of the code, highlighted that most banks do subscribe. But if the code is tightened too much, banks could simply pull out. There is plenty of scope for tightening the code, as many requirements are set low. For example, instead of promising not to charge for cashpoint withdrawals, subscribers to the code only have to pledge not to charge more than once for each transaction. A review of the code is underway but the jury is still out on whether the changes will make the code more effective. Weatherill isn't convinced: "You can tinker with the engine, but it's worthless when the wheels have fallen off the car." - Moneywise Magazine - April 2004

Banking's big four are still accused of overcharging SME's and stifling competition - despite the Chancellor's order to improve services to smaller enterprise. The odds are stacked against you when you're starting up or expanding a new business, so it would be nice if you could count on the support of your bank to see you through these uneven times. Yet despite the attempts of the Competition Commission in it's 2001 report on UK business banking, little seems to have changed in the attitude of the commercial banks when it comes to backing the smaller enterprise. While the basic measures from the Competition Commission have now largely been implemented, very little seems to have changed when it comes to the overall quality of service small business are receiving. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive at the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS), believes this is because today's banking industry is built on a culture of conservatism and self-interest that does not allow bank managers to genuinely put the customer first." The biggest problem is a historic one," he says. "Bank's still haven't yet got to grips with the fact that they need to assist businesses; they're having to be kicked into it. They have always been able to charge what they liked as they liked." But today's banks are very much businesses in their own right, and are driven by the need to make a fat profit, Weatherill claims. This is a hard mentality to shake off. "They perceive the small business community as a profitable enterprise for them, so they look to massage the margins in every conceivable way," he says. "If a business doesn't perform as it should, it is given a series of unrealistic hurdles, so it declines and develops cash-flow problems. The banks don't do anything to help; they just take the profits where they can." - "This happened a lot in the last recession," Weatherill says. "If the banks had taken a different attitude, perhaps more small businesses would have survived." - The Guardian - Cover Story- Business Solutions 25/03/2004

2m rise for the banker who doesn't need credit. The bank boss who said credit cards were too expensive saw his total package rise by 2million, sparking outrage amongst consumer groups. IBAS's chief executive Eddy Weatherill, who helps customers deal with banks, said: "It's profits before probity. Barclay's profits were up by 20% last year, Matt Barrett's pay by 100%, and what do the customers get? Nothing." UNIFI the bank trade union said: "Staff at the bank will have difficulty reconciling their pay increase this year with that of Matt Barrett." - Daily Express 25/03/2004

2m pay rise for Mr Barclays. A 2 million bonus awarded to Barclays chief executive Matt Barrett was slated yesterday. Eddy Weatherill, chairman of the Independent Banking Advisory Group, said: "This is a massive slap in the face for consumers. People are getting pig sick of this kind of greed. It's like sticking two fingers up to customers." The deal emerged the day Mirror readers overwhelmingly voted Barclays Britain's worst bank, with complaints of high charges and poor rates - Daily Mirror 25/03/2004

Barclays boss's pay soars to 5m. Anger over Banker who said credit cards are poor value. The Barclays Bank boss who last year admitted that credit cards were too expensive has had his salary package increased by 65% to nearly 5m. In October the Barclays Bank chief executive told the Commons Treasury Select Committee he did not use credit cards and had advised his children to steer clear of them. His remarks were compared to jewellery tycoon Gerald Ratner's disastrous description of one of his products as 'crap'. Consumer Groups reacted angrily to his huge pay rise. Eddy Weatherill, of IBAS, the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: 'Mr Barrett finds himself in a remarkably fortunate position to have doubled his money on the back of his customers. While he is raking the money in his customers are being given products that, by his own admission, are poor value for money. His bank, along with most others, has made a huge profit on the back of consumer debt. The banks have squeezed people until they are very nearly dry and pay deals like this are the result.' Barrett's 2003 pay deal is made up of a basic 1.1m salary, a 1.9m performance related cash bonus, a deferred share bonus of 831,000 and a 990,000 contribution to his personal pension. His complete pay deal for 2002, also including a 990,000 contribution to his personal pension, was 2.9m - Daily Mail 25/03/2004

The bank that lost 686m gives its boss a 91% pay rise. Abbey's chief executive was paid 1.7million last year - almost double his predecessor's salary - even though the bank suffered massive losses. The 91% increase comes despite the fact that the Abbey was the only major High street bank to make a loss. Eddy Weatherill of consumer group Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: 'People have had enough. These bosses are plundering huge pay rises while fleecing us using every trick in the book. It is at our expense.' - Daily Mail 20/03/2004

Bank chiefs in new pay scandal. Fat Cat bank chiefs have been handed record pay rises. They come despite growing anger at huge profits made by banks through swingeing charges. At one bank, the Abbey National, boardroom pay and bonuses rose by up to 176% in one year. Typically bank chiefs are enjoying rises of 15% to 20% when average earnings in Britain are rising at 4%. Eddy Weatherill of bank customer group IBAS, said Britain's leading banks were 'plundering' huge packages 'while using every trick in the book to fleece customers'. The accounts show that the total salary, bonus and benefit packages paid to directors at the big banks will exceed 50m this year for the first time.- London Evening Standard 19/03/2004

4BN Gain at LloydsTSB after its profits soared by 66 per cent to 4.35billion. Unions said it was outrageous that the bank was moving jobs to India to cut costs while raking in 138 every second. UNIFI said: "It's very hard to swallow. Profits are up on the back of 1,000 jobs being exported to India." Consumer Groups also slammed Lloyds, accusing it of encouraging people to get deeper in debt. Eddy Weatherill of IBAS said: "The phenomenal borrowing might be good for the banks but it is bound to end in tears for many consumers." Lloyds new boss Eric Daniels said the bank's recovery from a 17 per cent profit fall in 2002 was down to record borrowing. It lent 135billion to its customers last year, a 12billion or 10% rise. Credit card lending up 18% - personal borrowing up 9% - homebuyers borrowed 24.2billion. Its success means the big 5 banks racked up 26billion between them. - Daily Mirror - 09/03/2004

Bank executive's 12m. Investment chief cashes in as HSBC profits hit 7.7bn. A bank paid one of its executives 12.6 million while raking in record breaking profits last year. Another boss at the HSBC was sent home with 10.5 million, according to the bank's annual report. The two huge earners are not named. Neither was on the board. But the bumper pay packets did stretch to the boardroom where Chairman Sir John Bond received 4.25 million, including a salary and bonus package of 2.15 million - up 14%. The value of Sir John Bond's pension was topped up to 7.9 million from 5.5 million making it one of the biggest retirement pots seen in a British boardroom. He also has shares and share options worth 3.5 million. IBAS said: "This is fat cat pay packets at the expense of customers. It's breathtaking.' The figures added to the fury already felt by consumers as the bank unveiled the biggest profits ever by a British company. - Daily Mail - 02/03/2004

HSBC announces record profit. HSBC today announced the biggest ever profit by a British bank - an extraordinary 7.7 billion. The bank revealed to the City that it had racked up profits before tax at the rate of 244 a second in 2003. That was 37% on its 2002 profits, which were themselves a record. IBAS said: "This follows a very familiar pattern. It indicates to us that there is widespread profiteering at the customer's expense. The banks are making hay while the sun shines." London Evening Standard - 01/03/2004

Banks will be told to end 60m a year rip-off on cheques. Moves to stop the big banks operating a rip-off worth an estimated 60 million a year began yesterday. The huge windfall comes from the delay in clearing cheques and processing electronic payments. Yesterday, the Office of Fair Trading set about ending the scam. The watchdog has declared that the money should be transferred on the same day, so any interest goes to the customer. A bank might make 5 per cent interest on the cash in what the industry calls this 'float', while most current accounts pay less than 1 per cent. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of IBAS, said: 'Greedy banks have made billions out of this rip-off over many years and it is about time the scandal was stopped. There is no doubt bank bosses have cynically used the system to boost their own profits at the expense of their customers.''

'It affects every single person with a bank account who has an array of regular standing orders going out every month. People are totally baffled when they are deprived of their interest as their money takes days to appear in the account of the payees.'

He added: 'Unjustifiable delays in the cheque clearing system are a massively profitable enterprise for banks and they have pocketed an incredible amount of money thanks to it.'

OFT Chairman John Vickers put the banks on notice that he expected them to adopt the measures from 2005. 'Self regulation, provided that is effective, has a key role in ensuring that markets work well for consumers,' he said. 'Customers, not just the banks, should get some benefit from the float.' Lloyds - TSB has already broken ranks with the rest of the industry by saying it will leave money used in electronic transfers in customer accounts until the day of payment. - Daily Mail - 27/02/2004                           

Banks sit on cash and con us out of a fortune. Greedy Banks are cheating customers out of millions of pounds, watchdogs warned yesterday . They are conning customers out of interest cash by taking too long to process simple payments, according to the Office of Fair Trading. Consumer groups believe savers are missing out on an annual 30million in interest payments as a result. Eddy Weatherill of IBAS said: "Failure to pay interest in this way is just another example of the banks being allowed to profiteer. The Government should have put a stop to this years ago." - Daily Express - 27/02/2004

Rip-off bank. Angry consumers have accused banks of cashing in on Britain's soaring debt crisis after the Royal Bank of Scotland revealed profits of 7.15billion. Critics said it was time for banks to behave more responsibly and end excessive charges on letters, transfers, overdrafts and interest payments. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of IBAS, the Independent Banking Advisory Service, which represents the interests of aggrieved banking customers, said:" It's completely excessive. They are profiteering in almost every way you can think of. Even City analysts are saying the profit increases are so big that it can't be just good fortune or good management. It has to be profiteering. Customers need to vote with their feet."

Eddy Weatherill called on the FSA to tighten up banking regulation to stop consumers being ripped off. But, the FSA rejected the calls to curb profiteering. A spokesman said:" The regulation of excess profits is nothing to do with us. Banks can make as big a profit as they like, so long as they follow the rules." Daily Express - 20/02/2004 

226 a second - That's how much profit the Royal Bank of Scotland made in 2003 as borrowers and savers struggled. RBS caused outrage yesterday after unveiling profits - the biggest yet by a British bank. It means RBS, which owns NatWest made almost 300 for each of its 20million customers in Britain, where it makes 80% of its profits. Critics accused the big banks of profiteering on the back of a tide of debt which is set to hit 1trillion this year. IBAS called for a Windfall Tax to be levied on the major banks and Eddy Weatherill of IBAS, The Independent Banking Advisory Service said: "It has to be profiteering at the expense of the customer." Daily Mail - 20/02/2004

Bank rings up record 6bn profit - Royal Bank of Scotland today reported the biggest profit ever recorded by a British bank - a 6.16billion surplus before tax. The jumbo 2003 profit delighted shareholders and staff but caused anger among customers. It is equivalent to about 308 for each of the bank's 20 million UK clients and eclipses the record 5.99billion made in 2002 by rival HSBC. Among British companies, only oil giants BP and Shell have ever made money on such a scale.

RBS squeezed more profits from almost every corner of its empire, which includes NatWest, Coutts, Dixon Motors and two insurers, Direct Line and Churchill. The record figure - equivalent to 195 a second - was up 29% on 2002.

IBAS immediately condemned the bank." it's completely excessive. They are profiteering in almost every way you can think of. Even City analysts are saying the profit increases are so big that it can't be just good fortune or good management. It has to be profiteering at the expense of customers." Calling for a Windfall Tax - Eddy Weatherill said: "Chancellor Gordon Brown has a hole in his finances. Why not fill it by penalizing the banks?"

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vincent Cable called on the Government to implement the recommendations of the Cruickshank Review of four years ago, which found banks guilty of operating a complex monopoly and making "excess profits." London Evening Standard - 19/02/2004

Rip-off mockery. Big Four banks defy critics as profits surge on the back of lousy deals, reports David Prosser - Britain's biggest banks are making a fortune from their customers.  The Big Four's profits rose to almost 20 billion last year - 53 million a day. In other words, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) made a staggering 36,800 in every minute of 2003.

However, while the outlook is rosy for the bank's shareholders, many campaigners believe the banks are profiteering at the expense of their customers as they rack up ever-escalating gains.

"There has got to be something wrong with an industry where companies are continually able to boast record profits," says Eddy Weatherill, who runs the Independent Banking Advisory Service. "These banks' expertise lies in ripping off customers in every conceivable way."

The Consumers Association agrees. For three years it has been promoting its Switch With Which? campaign, which aims to persuade customers of the big four to dump their banks for better deals elsewhere. Daily Express - Your Money - 18/02/2004

Bank's credit card 'rip-off'. The bank which admitted its credit card charges are too expensive revealed record profits of 3.85billion today. IBAS, The Independent Banking Advisory Service said today: "Credit card profits are obscene, there are no two ways about it. Banks are profiteering from their customers and the Government does nothing about it." Labour MP Linda Perham said:" From a bank whose chief executive said his credit card was too expensive, this can only be described as a rip-off." London Evening Standard - 12/02/2004 

Great credit card rip-off. MPs threaten probe as bank makes 70 from each customer. Robin Down, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said: "If one or two banks say they are making these sort of returns, you could say it is due to a particular expertise. But when the whole sector is saying it, that is suggestive of excess profits." The Express - 13/02/2004  IBAS say that this is a comment that identifies the truth in its simplicity!  

Barclays profits soar to 3.8bn - Credit card customers pay no heed to Barrett - Barclays, whose chief executive caused uproar by telling MPs that credit cards were "too expensive", yesterday revealed last year's profits ballooned to 3.8bn. Chief executive and chairman designate Matt Barrett told a group of MPs last October:" I don't borrow on credit cards because it is too expensive." The Barclaycard business appears to have been unaffected by the remark, reporting operating profits up 17% to 722m and 1.5m new customers. The average Barclaycard customer paid 98 in interest last year and the bank made 68 profit for each cardholder. Eddy Weatherill ceo of IBAS, which works with small businesses, said Barclays was guilty of profiteering. "Customers have yet to learn how to use their feet to make them (banks) compete." Vincent Cable MP, Treasury spokesman for the LibDems, called on the government to introduce a new regulator to control the banks and for the OFT to be tougher. "We now have about 1 trillion of household debt, which is very worrying for the economy but great news for the banks." The Guardian - 13/02/2004

Abbey Grabit. Lender takes ONE minute to up rates - Banks were accused of "pure greed" last night after rushing to raise the mortgages of millions of home-buyers, the day that rates went up. The Abbey took precisely one minute to announce it was passing the full increase on to its two million lenders. Its ten million savers would have to wait until "towards the end of the month" to learn how they will benefit. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said:" It's pure greed, blatant profiteering. It's them cynically squeezing every bit of profit they can out of customers. It wouldn't be so bad if they were passing it on to savers just as quickly but they're not, they're using it to fatten profits. Customers should show their disgust by moving their mortgages - voting with their feet." An Abbey spokeswoman denied the bank was out to make a killing. She said: "We were expecting the rise, we knew what we were going to do so we were ready to just push the button." Daily Mirror- 06/02/2004

Up to 4pc - and it won't stop there - The Bank of England increased the base loan rate by a quarter percent yesterday, heralding an end to the days of cheap borrowing. The base rate now stands at four percent. Some city analysts predict that it will go up to 5.25 percent over the next 18 months. Abbey, Barclays, Woolwich, Nationwide and First Direct immediately put their mortgage rates up by 0.25 percent yesterday.

However, the industry was not so quick to offer better savings rates, and last night the banks were accused of profiteering. Rising interest rates should be good news for savers. But, last night, the banks would only say that savings rates were 'under review'. Eddy Weatherill, of the consumer pressure group Independent Banking Advisory Service, said:' This looks like the usual profiteering at the expense of the customer. It is amazing how quick they rush to punish borrowers, yet hold back offering rewards to savers.' Daily Mail - 06/02/2004

IBAS Comment: Abbey National expected and had made plans to take advantage of the rate shift as soon as it happened. I'm sure that the 10 million savers all feel better knowing that the Abbey National think that excuse will 'wash'. If they were ready to 'just push the button' for 2 million borrowers for Abbey's own financial advantage then they could just as easily have been  ready for the saver's benefit. This excuse does not hide what is happening. This is pure profiteering by the lenders. Yet another reason for consumers to watch, learn and act by moving accounts. Mortgages, savings and current accounts can all be moved to take advantage of better suppliers and better rates.

Banks accused of fleecing customers - High street banks are set to announce record profits of 25 billion. Consumer  groups condemned the figure as "absolutely astounding" and said in many cases the profits were being wrung from vulnerable people crippled by debt.

Eddy Weatherill of IBAS, said:" This is just blatant profiteering at any cost. The bank's shareholders must be jumping with joy but the customers certainly won't be. The Government needs to step in to stop the banks fleecing their customers while at the same time driving many of them to misery."

In a worrying trend for the banks, a report said that the number of customers planning to move their accounts to a rival has doubled in the past two years. The report from Mintel said that 13 percent of British bank account holders are considering switching, up from seven percent in 2002. London Evening Standard - 28/01/2004

Dear sir, pardon me for breathing but I'm alive - When a grieving widow tried to help her late husband's hospice, her bank returned the cheque - stamped 'deceased'. It was an insensitive blunder. But, as call centres are moved abroad to cut costs there could be many more.

'It is obvious that banks need to keep their costs down,' says Eddy Weatherill, chief executive at the Independent Banking Advisory Service, the non-profit pressure group that represents bank customers. 'But banks are cynical and in terms of customer service they generally offer as little as they can get away with. Customers should have the right to speak to someone who has all the information about their account and who can deal with problems quickly.'

Abbey promised Financial Mail that it would improve its systems to prevent similar errors in future. The Financial Mail on Sunday - Personal Finance - 11/1/2004

UK Bank News - 2003

IBAS comment and information was included in the following news articles during 2003:-

Negative equity is back. The spectre of negative equity is back to haunt home owners. More than 300,000 households will be hit as the value of their properties tumble, economists warned yesterday. A damning forecast from the respected Capital Economics said the twin horrors of arrears and repossessions will once again stalk Britain." House prices will start falling next year and will fall by 20 percent from their peak to their trough in 2007," Said CE economist Vicky Redwood. Eddy Weatherill of the pressure group IBAS, set up in the aftermath of the last negative equity scandal, predicted the problem would hit home owners harder and quicker this time around. "We have very serious concerns about the situation and the effect it will have on hundreds of thousands of owners," he said. "The impact will be felt almost immediately as there is no Social Security safety net in place now as there was in the early 1990s. Lenders will move in within weeks to repossess properties and owners will simply not know what has hit them. Negative equity is a dreadful problem - we are still mopping up after the last hit."    Daily Express   27/11/2003

IBAS comment: In 1991 more than 75,000 homes were repossessed and 183,000 owners were between six and twelve months in arrears. However, for those who found themselves without a job there was a Social Security 'safety net' which allowed for mortgage interest to be paid to lenders. It was only this arrangement which prevented even more repossessions taking place. Our case files show that mortgage shortfall debt from the early 1990s is still being addressed and resolved, often under the threat of bankruptcy proceedings by the lender or their agents.

Sunday Times - Small Business - 02/11/2003 – Banks make it easier for firms to switch accounts - New undertakings will ensure that small companies get a better service. Under pressure from bodies such as the Competition Commission and the Government Britain's eight largest banks agreed this week to make it easier for small firms to switch business accounts. Under the new agreement which comes into force at the end of the year, banks will have to complete the transfer of funds and payment instructions in four days for customers holding accounts without an overdraft. The new agreement does not go far enough for Eddy Weatherill chief executive of IBAS a non-profit body. Weatherill says there is no provision in the new agreement to speed up the transfer of accounts for business owners who have loans secured for collateral, such as their homes. "It's simple to transfer straightforward accounts but it can take five months to transfer an account away from banks that hold security," says Weatherill. He accuses some banks of using these arrangements as a way of holding on to their customers. "This is our single biggest concern. we have even seen banks bounce cheques and cause all sorts of trouble to make sure other banks don't want to touch certain customers. They have said it is difficult to transfer security quickly. Obviously it can be complex if there are multiple properties involved, for example, but this is not rocket science. Any bank should be able to arrange the whole thing in a month if there is the will to do it, if they wanted to give their customers good service rather than hanging onto them and plundering them."

Weatherill also wants to see a league table or other measures to name ands shame banks that don't comply or drag their feet." There is a need for more openness here. More must be done to force banks to be more accountable to their own customers".

IBAS comment: Whilst a move in the right direction this new agreement does not 'grasp the nettle' or show a true understanding of the difficulties faced by companies moving accounts where security is held by the bank. If a customer wants to move their account bank customers still cannot compare properly and do not know which banks are worst and which are best out of the biggest eight. If bank customers were able to compare banks by a complaints league table being published then service might improve almost overnight. It is the ability of the banks to generally hide their poor customer service record from the public which works in their own interest in preventing true portability of business bank accounts.

Financial Adviser - 21/08/2003 - Specialist adviser claims many clients can be rescued from big banks - IF A'S are being urged to refer clients owing huge debts to banks to a specialist adviser. Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said some IFA's were turning away and often unable to help clients who owed tens of thousands because of mortgage shortfall debts, repossession and debt. He said IFA's might not have the specialist knowledge to get claims overturned or may not even take the clients on because of the debt. 'We are trying to help clients out of a debt they might not have to pay. Banks do things that are wrong. You just have to know what it is.' John Stewart, director of Essex based IFA PMI, discovered the Independent Banking Advisory Service when one of his clients owed thousands of pounds on a house repossession. The debt was eventually cut to just over 1000. Since then he has referred a handful of clients who have serious debt to IBAS. Mr Stewart said: 'Sometimes as an IFA you have to admit that there is no advice you can give to help a person. in this financial sector there is someone who knows better.

Daily Mail - 24/05/2003 - Banks 'making 30m stealth charge on standing orders' - After a three month investigation the OFT said that the banks varied widely in the time taken to allow access to money after clearing cheques. The OFT chairman John Vickers said there was 'considerable consumer concern' about delays in transferring cash. IBAS said "This is yet another of the banks' scams. This is nothing but a way to profiteer. It's about time the Government did something about the banks and their profiteering. It is time to call a halt to this.

Daily Mail - 23/05/2003 - Spreading by stealth, cash machines that charge a fee – A quarter of cash machines now charge for withdrawals, figures show. IBAS believe that this is totally unacceptable and the estimated cost of 5.75 million a month for customers to access their own money is sheer profiteering by the banks concerned.

Sunday Telegraph - Money - 11/05/2003 - Never in arrears, but she's facing repossession - First test for FSA's unfair contract unit - The hidden danger of joint mortgages –  IBAS presents a first case to the FSA for investigation under the Unfair Contracts Act - Eddy Weatherill says "We think the home loan contract was unfair and the risks not clearly stated. I hope Miss Roberts ultimately gets a fair deal from the Clydesdale Bank after this three year nightmare, but the central issue as far as we are concerned is the contract wording." The ability of one party to a joint mortgage to raise extra money on the property without having to tell the other party is "potentially disastrous", he says.

IBAS comment: Having carried out our own investigation into the facts of this particular case IBAS has presented the FSA with a full file on this matter. We now await the FSA's own investigation and conclusions. We trust that this case will highlight the need for changes to the mortgage contract documents used by some banks and prevent future problems in this area. We also hope that the FSA will enforce the use of plain and fair contract wording within all such documents from now onwards to prevent this consumer problem arising in the future.

Daily Express - 09/05/2003 - Anger ay Abbey's 11-day wait – Abbey National faces a furious backlash from thousands of customers after doubling the time it takes to clear cheques. " I think this is a disgrace - Abbey is passing on its problems to customers," said Eddy Weatherill, of  The Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS).

Sunday Times – Business – 09/02/2003 How to keep out of trouble with banks – Pressure groups are calling for tougher measures against banks, saying sharp practice, high charges and inflexibility are still hurting small firms says Zo Brennan. When Chris Vass opened the letter from his bank telling him that a decade after his family business had collapsed, NatWest suggested he sells his home to repay his debt, he says it was like a “hammer – blow”. Now after 13 years the bank is demanding 150,000 in compound interest on the original sum despite repayments of nearly 100,000 by the Vass family. “They said ‘look at the small print of what you signed’,” says Chris Vass, “They were right, I’d said they could charge that interest.” Vass and his wife might be an extreme case of what can go wrong, but the stress Vass is suffering as a result of his dealings with the bank will be familiar to the small business community. Be careful what you sign, particularly regarding borrowing guarantees. “The case of the Vass family – where we are trying to get the bank to see common sense – shows how easily a bank can enforce a signed agreement,” says Eddy Weatherill from the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS), which helps people who run into trouble with banks. “Never trust the phrase, ‘this is just a formality’, or ‘we can change this later’ when signing a document. Get all the facts on the worst case scenario and don’t be rushed into signing something.” Weatherill says: “Banks do lie and cheat.”

Daily Mail – 04/02/2003 – ‘Greedy’ big four banks to unveil profits of 20bn – Up by 3.4billion in a year. The total profits are equivalent to 346 for every man, woman and child in the country and will to fresh accusations of greed. Ministers who have failed to deliver a promised crack down on rip-offs will be embarrassed that the surge in profits for HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland group, which includes NatWest, is forecast to be more than four times the rate of inflation. Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: ‘It is no longer surprises us how much profit the banks rack up, despite the horrendous errors, costs and mistakes they pass onto their customers. The consumer is not protected enough and the Government has not moved fast enough.’

Daily Express – 13/01/2003 – Thousands to Lose Houses in Price Slump – Negative equity nightmare is back. Half a million home-owners are in danger of losing their properties in a new price crash, experts warned last night. The warning follows growing industry fears about the state of the housing market, highlighted by the Daily Express. Professor Andrew Oswald of Warwick University said he expected prices to fall by 30% between the middle of the year and the end of 2005. This would leave half a million people with negative equity. The effects of the 1980s crash are still being felt, according to Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Service. He said: “Roughly 200,000 people out there are still being chased by lenders and we are still picking up the debris from 12 years ago. Are we worried it will happen again? Yes we are. “People will find that homes they bought for 150,000 have dropped 20,000. Once it starts to happen we foresee a decline, maybe even quicker than last time. Fear drove it down last time and fear will drive it down again. It then does not take much for negative equity to reappear.” - For more information on mortgage shortfall debt following home repossession and negative equity sales look in the IBAS case studies on our Mortgage Shortfall Debt section at IBAS Mortgage Shortfall Debt Resolution

Sunday Times – Business 05/01/2003 – Lenders get tough as debt hits 158 billion. With personal debt and business failures soaring, more people are seeing the ugly side of banking, says John Waples. A study by D&B, the business information group, shows that the number of business failures has risen to its highest level since 1994 and the situation is likely to get worse in the next six months. The number of corporate failures last year rose 7% to stand at 43,500. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, which helps homeowners and people with debt problems, says more people will end up being pursued through the courts by banks wanting their money back. He says: “There has been a big shift from the last recession and the law has changed in favour of the lender. In the last recession it was possible to hang onto your house but now repossession can start almost immediately.”

UK Bank News - 2002

IBAS comment and information was included in the following news articles during 2002:-

Secret Interest Cuts Hit Savers – Banks and building societies are slashing the interest they pay to millions of savers in a Christmas raid on accounts. The move under cover of the holiday brought angry accusations of stealth tactics and profiteering. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said last night: “These are stealth tactics. They have picked an opportune moment in the hope they’d not get caught. We know what they are about now. If they can steal from savers over Christmas, then that’s what they will do. There’s no great reason to do it now – it’s just profiteering.” - Daily Mail 30/12/2002

The Evil Debt – Callous lenders drive thousands sick with worry. Borrowers hounded for debt are being made ill by the tough tactics of lenders and their collectors. Nine out of 10 who are chased ultimately need medical treatment says the Independent Banking Advisory Service, which helps home-owners and people with debt problems. The IBAS survey quizzed 500 people who contacted the agency.

Chief executive Eddy Weatherill says: “Our biggest gripe is the way lenders try to collect the money they are owed. The legal system is used to bludgeon the individual into accepting long-term debt on the lenders’ terms.” He is angry that lenders try to force people into accepting repayment deals, which they cannot afford and points out that the debt collectors often make mistakes in calculating what is owed. That leaves the way open for IBAS to negotiate a better deal.

That was what Christine Cann and Husband John have managed to do – ending a nine –year nightmare. Originally, they owed 10,000 but by the time they’d bought another house Britannic reckoned the debt was 30,000. The mortgage firm demanded all the money back with the threat of taking their new house if they couldn’t pay. After IBAS negotiations the couple have paid 6,000 in a full and final settlement. - Mirror Money 04/12/2002

Financial Times – UK National News 26/9/02 – Banks fail to follow HSBC in cutting hours. High street banks said yesterday that they would not follow the lead of HSBC, which is set to cut its banking hours in some branches. Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Group, a consumer watchdog, said: “In the past 10 years the banks have been opening longer hours but we are concerned that other banks may follow what HSBC is doing. Reducing counter service is a good way of cost-cutting.”

BBC i News – HSBC cuts back counter service – The move has been criticised by The Independent Banking Advisory Service, a banking consumer group. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, a group which campaigns for better banking services, said: “I think it’s appalling, it has gone backwards about 10 years. The reality is that customers need the branches to be open when they can use them. They are trying to drive people to use automated transfers and ATM’s. This is the thin edge of the wedge.”

Bank cuts counter hours as its staff become salesmen – Daily Mail 25/9/02. Consumer group IBAS and businesses yesterday denounced a decision by HSBC to cut the banking day by two hours. A pilot study by the high street bank will restrict counter opening times to just five hours a day, from 10.30am to 3.30pm. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service watchdog group, said: ‘This is the thin edge of the wedge. It’s another cost cutting exercise aimed at making more profits for the bank and doing nothing for the customer. The banks are aware that the vast majority of people need counter services at some time, but as usual they are ignoring their customers. All the electronic systems in the world do not replace face-to-face contact. Banks have already faced a backlash from customers over branch closures, now it seems that the branches that are left will have less services inside them.’

Counter time cut by HSBC - Daily Express 25/9/02 – One of Britain’s biggest banks faced customers’ fury yesterday after deciding to close its counters for an extra two hours a day. Consumer group, the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) denounced the move as a cut in service – Eddy Weatherill of IBAS, said “It’s a retrograde step that will do nothing to help customers. It’s another cost-cutting exercise aimed at making more profits.”

Opening hours cut by bank – The Sun 25/9/02 – Top high street bank HSBC is chopping its opening times by two hours a day – Eddy Weatherill, of watchdog the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: “The banks are aware that the majority of people need counter services at some time. But as usual they are ignoring their customers.”

Daily Mirror – Mirror Money 28/8/02 – Hounded for eleven years - 12,000 house debt soared to 70,000. The 53-year-old from Hunstanton, Norfolk, died of a brain haemorrhage just as lenders Paragon finally accepted a settlement. Fran was able to reach a deal with Paragon, previously National Home Loans, with the help of the Independent Banking Advisory Service. IBAS reckons Paragon is the toughest of the lenders chasing old mortgage debts. Sara Cummings of IBAS says: “Lenders are getting tougher. As the years go on, more people are getting back on their feet and there are more assets to chase.”

Sunday Times Small Business 11/8/02 - Banks profit at expense of small firms – The big four have been criticised for taking advantage of inexperienced owner-managers. Eddy Weatherill of Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) says: “Small businesses are an attractive target because they have high security, liquid assets and are here rather than thousands of miles away.” He recently wrote to one small-business woman: “While we know they (the bank) have been extremely unfair and have by using ‘sharp practice’, deliberately profiteered from your inexperience, the reality is that this is now their normal way of carrying on their business. ‘Buyer beware’ should be the phrase used when dealing with any bank on any matter in our opinion.” He suggests that small businesses check their debts, especially those that are repayable on demand. “Ask yourself just how solvent you are if the bank demands its cash within hours because nobody is immune,” says Eddy Weatherill

Daily Mail 2/8/02 - Record card debt shoots Barclaycard profit up 24pc – Barclaycard profits soared by a massive 24 per cent to 316million in the first six months of the year, it was revealed yesterday. Eddy Weatherill, of the pressure group the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) called for the Government or financial regulators to cap ‘extortionate’ interest rates and said: ‘Barclaycard and the other leading banks are treating customers like piggy banks.’

Daily Mail & Money Mail 31/7/02 - How Ministers let banks get away with 4bn rip-off – The greed, deception and abuse of power by the big banks was laid bare yesterday. Overcharging of customers and excessive profits are running at well over 4billiona year, it was claimed. MP’s on the Treasury Select committee condemned profiteering at the Big Four – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland / NatWest. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS), a bank consumer group, welcomed the report as a victory. ‘Nobody can understand how charges are calculated or precisely when they apply. The banks appear a law unto themselves,’ he said. ‘The Government has made fancy promises to be the consumer champion, but in reality it appears to have been in the pocket of the banks. We are calling for a windfall tax. They have ripped off the public and ought to be paying back 5-10 billion. We have seen ten years of plundering.’

Daily Mirror 31/7/02 -  Tax our rip off banks’ – The damning report by the Treasury Select Committee also accuses the banks of baffling customers with complex interest rate charges. The Government is being urged to slap a 5billion windfall tax on them. Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) said: “They have been systematically ripping people off for a decade. They should be penalised.”

Mirror Money 1/5/02 - Women Targets For Debt – Women are seen as easy pickings by mortgage lenders keen to collect on old debts. IBAS believes women are pursued because they are more likely to start other relationships and become joint homeowners again. “If lenders find a women with a well off man and a new house, they are quick to point out that half the house is theirs. It is quite a shock for someone to find that equity in their house is about to disappear”

Daily Express 24/04/02 - Lenders under fire for breach of debts code – Mortgage defaulters chased beyond agreed six-year limit. The Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) said this week that some lenders were flaunting a self-regulating code of conduct, which directs that all lenders should agree to write off debts after six years. IBAS spokesman Eddy Weatherill accused lenders of cynically agreeing to play by the rules then ignoring them to pursue errant customers who had got into difficulties during the property market collapse of the early nineties. “Banks and building societies like to target women in particular who have had mortgage debt problems,” he added. Our research suggests most people run into trouble following the break-up of a relationship but women are more likely than men to get back into a new one and build up assets within a new partners property, only for their former lenders to pounce.”

Sunday Times Budget Special 21/04/02 - How to raise cash for your start-up – Third report – Open for Business - looks at financing options. The budget will help with more cuts to red tape, writes John O’Donnell. But, beware expensive loans. Choose carefully says Eddy Weatherill of Independent Banking Advisory Service, which helps small firms tackle overcharging. “People end up going to the bank they have used before or one that someone has recommended,” he says. “But you should never just go to one bank. You should pick at least three and compare them. Another mistake is to go straight for an overdraft without considering what else is available. You could go for a term loan without security, for example.” Eddy Weatherill also warns business owners against signing over too much security. “If you are going for an overdraft, you have to limit the security you give. The banks will want as much as possible and many business owners think you cannot limit the amount. But you can.”

The Mirror 10/04/02 - Q&A.

 Q. My house was repossessed some years ago and I’m finding it difficult to deal with the lender. I would love to settle this but can’t afford to pay the whole amount outstanding. Can you help?

A. I suggest you contact Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) on 01487 843444. He’s an expert on banking disputes.

The Sunday Telegraph Banking Money 07/04/02 - A director takes his bank to Strasbourg – Paul Farrow tells how a 180,000 debt became a 500,000 legal disaster. – Very few ordinary people feel they have a chance against huge institutions with top lawyers to plead their case. So it is unsurprising that, according to the Financial Services Authority, while one in two people is unhappy with the way their banks deal with complaints, only one in 10 complainants takes the matter further. Eddy Weatherill says: “The banks know the system and how it works. You have little chance while most judges appear to believe that the banks can’t do anything wrong.”

The Sunday Times: Small Business article 31/03/02 - Biggest pitfalls lie in banks’ smallest print – Obscure clauses can leave firms high and dry when problems occur. Eddy Weatherill of IBAS warns “The agreements are always cast-iron in favour of the factor, if the debtor does not pay the factor, problems will occur for the firm that sold the debt,” he says “if you look further in the small print you may see that some banks also have your fixed and floating assets as a debenture. When they read this it doesn’t mean much to most people. But it allows the bank to take over all your invoices, debts and creditors. They can take control of everything”

Daily Mail 29/0302 also in The Sun 29/03/02 - No pay for 1m in Barclays gaffe – Eddy Weatherill Chief Executive of IBAS said: ‘This is unbelievable and sounds like a tragic comedy of errors. But it is a blunder that will cause a great deal of worry to a great many people this Easter. The number of computer glitches by major banks in the past 12 months has been horrendous”

Daily Mail 02/02/02 - 26bn bank robbery – Record profits as big nine ‘feed’ on our debt - Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: ‘The banks are being totally cynical. Cruickshank said the excess profit was 5billion. Now we must be looking at close to 10billion.’

Financial Times - Inside Track Enterprise 24/01/02 - Vital factor in surviving a slump – Invoice discounting is increasingly used to help survive cash-flow problems. But it is not suitable for everyone – But some companies have seen their working capital position deteriorate when the bank has reduced the overdraft facility dramatically, says Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service.

Sunday Times Small Business 13/01/02 - Secrets of the high street ‘muggers’ – Many entrepreneurs stay with their local branches even after discovering they are paying too much – Eddy Weatherill of IBAS which helps businesses to reclaim after overcharging says: “Banks are always looking for a way of massaging a few pence out of a transaction to get a profit they shouldn’t have. And most people don’t check their statements – when they do it’s often too late”

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.

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