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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 is the only UK non profit organization which provides bank customers with specialist business banking assistance and specialist business banking guidance and 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.

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UK Bank News - 2008   

Halifax - Britain's biggest mortgage lender was slated for ripping off 250,000 homebuyers. The Halifax sparked outrage by passing on just a quarter of yesterday's one per cent rate cut. It means customers with a typical £150,000 loan will be short-changed by £765 a year. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "This will make people's blood boil. People will be seriously brassed off by this brazen decision, particularly when the Halifax is being bailed out by taxpayers." - Mirror 05/12/2008

BRITAIN'S banks bowed to huge public and political pressure today to slash mortgage rates for millions. After a tense meeting with Chancellor Alistair Darling, the high street's leading names agreed to pass on "all, or most" of the Bank of England's shock 1.5 per cent base rate cut. However, hundreds of thousands of people with tracker mortgages were warned today they will not benefit from any future rate reductions. The "collars" or clauses written into the terms of tracker deals will come as a shock to many borrowers who were looking forward to further big falls in their mortgage bills. Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "A lot of people aren't aware of the collars and don't understand them." - London Evening Standard 07/11/2008

Interest rates could be cut by a full percentage point today, as the Bank of England comes under pressure to halt Britain's slide into a deep recession. A one percentage point reduction would be the biggest rate cut in 15 years, and comes amid growing anger that banks are not passing on improved terms to lenders. Lobby groups including the Confederation of British Industry and Institute of Directors have also called for a full point cut.

"Consumers will be incensed to think that the Government lays out a firm line with the banking industry, only to find out that this turns out to be meaningless drivel," said Eddy Weatherill, a leading bank campaigner and chairman of the Independent Banking Advisory Service. New figures show that the manufacturing sector has declined for the seventh consecutive month, while the service sector shrank at its fastest pace for at least 12 years, highlighting how the financial crisis is hitting the real economy. - Telegraph 06/11/2008

High street banks are increasing their overdraft charges to recoup cash lost during the credit crisis, it has been claimed. Campaigners criticized banks for deliberately making the fee structures more complicated to "hide" the increased charges and boost their profits. It comes in advance of a ruling on "unfair" overdraft charges. The High Court ruled in April that the Office of Fair Trading could start investigating the fairness of overdraft fees for those who exceed their agreed limits.

Eddy Weatherill, the chairman of campaign group Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "The banks have got very clever about hiding the charges. It is less transparent and almost impossible for customers to know how much their account will cost them." - Telegraph 05/11/2008

Greedy Banks put rates back up Three lenders sparked fury last night by hiking up interest rates as the Bank of England plans to cut borrowing costs. Abbey, Nationwide and Halifax are raising the price of tracker mortgages for new customers by up to 0.5 per cent - adding £45 a month to the cost of a typical £150,000 loan. Bosses were branded sharks over the move - which is a kick in the teeth for customers coming off fixed-rates deals who had hoped to take advantage of future rate cuts.

Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Group, said: "It's shameless. Ministers are supposed to have slapped the handcuffs on banks but they seem to be wriggling out of them and continuing business as usual." Lib Dem spokesman Vince Cable added: "Banks seem happy enough to increase the cost of lending when interest rates go up, yet always seem to be looking for ways to avoid cutting the cost of borrowing when they go down.

"The entire banking industry owes a great deal to taxpayers for its very survival. Any bank should be very careful it is not found to be unfairly profiteering from its customers, especially as they struggle in the economic downturn." - Mirror 05/11/2008

Banks and building societies have been accused of "profiteering" after cutting their interest rates for savers while leaving mortgage rates unchanged. Of the 96 lenders offering SVR mortgages monitored by Moneyfacts, fewer than half have implemented cuts for home owners. Banking campaigner Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "They are in all probability just profiteering at the expense of customers just as they always have done. They are building up their own profit margins at the expense of savers and home owners." - Sunday Telegraph 26/10/2008

Workers at the failed bank Northern Rock will scoop bonuses worth up to £50million over the next three years. The extraordinary bonanza  -  which could include more than £400,000 for the boss of the nationalised lender  -  was described as 'reckless' and 'outrageous'. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said : 'It is absolutely outrageous for banks to be paying any bonuses when the country is bailing out most of them, and they have created this fiasco for us all. 'This is a serious test for Gordon Brown and his government, because he said there should not be any bonuses and we want to see actions rather than words. What is he going to do about it?' - Daily Mail 23/10/2008

Outrageous City bonuses of up to £600,000 are to be paid to former traders at collapsed investment bank Lehman Brothers. More than 600 highly-paid workers - many based in London - are in line for the shameful perks despite the US finance giant's dramatic failure. Another example of Britain's arrogant banking culture emerged yesterday when Lloyds TSB said staff would get bonuses despite it swallowing a share of a £37billion bailout from the taxpayer. The handouts were yesterday blasted as the majority of people struggle to survive the credit crunch.

Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, hit out: "Nothing better demonstrates the irresponsible attitude and arrogance of bankers. While everyone else is having to tighten their belts, they decide to reward staff. They are also effectively thumbing their nose at Gordon Brown and it will be a serious test of his premiership to see what he does about it." - Daily Mirror 22/10/2008

Lloyds TSB accused of arrogance after telling staff they will get bonuses this year despite the government crackdown on rewards at banks receiving taxpayers' money. There was a furious reaction today as it emerged chief executive Eric Daniels told employees that Lloyds TSB would continue with its bonus payments, despite the injection of up to £5.5 billion of government funds. His words infuriated Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Service. He said: "It's typical bank arrogance, to be blunt. Everybody else in the country is going to pay for the bankers' actions and unfortunately the bankers don't see they are the biggest problem. Banks do have to be restricted because this is a gigantic bail-out by anybody's standards and the taxpayers are taking the risk. The banks are avaricious when it comes to money for themselves and the taxpayers' money has to be protected." - London Evening Standard 21/10/2008

FSA chief Lord Turner under fire - as he calls for regulator to be given more money. Lord Turner, the new chairman of the City watchdog, is facing fierce criticism for claiming he needs more staff and more money to tackle the financial crisis. Banking experts and MPs pointed out that staff at the Financial Services Authority (FSA) had doubled in less than ten years. It now employs 3,000 people, none of whom were apparently able to adequately spot this year's meltdown in the banking system. Eddy Weatherill, the chairman of the banking campaign group the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "The FSA is always behind the game, never ahead of it. The wheels have come off and exposed the regulator." – Telegraph 18/10/2008              

30,000 face axe in credit crisis bank rescue - Up to 30,000 jobs could be axed by Lloyds TSB's takeover of crippled bank HBOS, it was feared last night. Hundreds of branches around the country may be shut as part of the biggest rescue package in British financial history Ministers will even let the deal escape an investigation by competition watchdogs so it can be pushed through quickly to avoid the risk of taxpayers being forced to bail out HBOS in a repeat of the Northern Rock fiasco. Independent Banking Advisory Group's Eddy Weatherill added: "It looks more like a marriage of inconvenience than a marriage made in heaven." The indecent haste with which it has been bulldozed through makes me think things are even worse than we thought they were." Mr Weatherill said he feared HBOS might not be the last bank to be savaged by the combination of the credit crunch and City speculators. He added: "If they can bring a bank the size of HBOS to its knees the fear must be that the speculators will turn their attentions to another target soon." Gordon Brown is understood to have helped instigate emergency talks between top brass at Lloyds and HBOS - Britain's biggest mortgage lender - yesterday. - Mirror 18/09/2008

Bank customers are 'being pummelled' by the highest interest rates on their overdrafts for 11 years, as lenders seek to recoup lost profits from the credit crisis, according to official figures. Overdraft rates are now the highest since 1997 - Telegraph 11/07/2008

FSA considers naming banks that receive most customer complaints - Banks could be named and shamed under proposals outlined yesterday by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA is required by law to keep some information private but said it was also allowed to publish more details in other areas. The proposals also includes naming more companies that the FSA has investigated as well as highlighting those that have done well.

Banks have also been accused of denying millions of savers the chance to benefit from a rapid cash transfer service that was launched yesterday. Electronic payments can be dealt with within hours, rather than four days, but consumer groups have said that the banks are denying the process because they can make up to £30 million a year by sitting on the cash. Eddy Weatherill, of IBAS, said: "By dragging their feet the banks can continue to profit. The launch is nothing but a publicity exercise." - Times 28/05/2008

Banks are 'profiteering' on overdrafts - Banks and building societies have increased their overdraft rates this year, even though the Bank of England has cut the base rate, it has been disclosed. The average overdraft rate on a current account is now 12.95 per cent, compared with 12.55 per cent in January, according to the personal finance website Moneyfacts. This is despite the Bank of England cutting the base rate on two occasions this year. Campaigners claim the higher charges are evidence the banks are trying to boost their revenues ahead of a ruling on "unfair" overdraft charges. Eddy Weatherill, of IBAS, said: "Banks are looking for every opportunity to increase their profit margin. It is always profit above customers. And we call that profiteering." - Telegraph 20/05/2008

Repossession: why none of us is safe - You can't make your mortgage payments, so the bank takes your home. William Little talks to those who've suffered the trauma and outlines the homeowner's rights. Full article includes  IBAS Mortgage Shortfall cases and comments regarding repossession and mortgage shortfall problems - Telegraph 03/05/2008

Skipton cashes in on financial crisis with £800 mortgage fee - Mortgage costs rose further yesterday as a building society became the first major lender to charge borrowers to take out a standard variable rate home loan. Skipton said customers will now have to pay £800 for its 6.7 per cent deal. Experts said the trend started by Skipton was likely to spread. There were accusations that lenders were "profiteering" from the credit crisis.

The move by Skipton, the sixth biggest building society, came amid further evidence yesterday of the growing pressures on families. Halifax, the biggest mortgage lender, announced that it will charge borrowers without a 25 per cent deposit an extra 0.1 per cent. Stroud & Swindon lifted its rates by half a percentage point. Fears emerged that the housing market faces further falls as thousands of buy-to-let property investors are planning to sell up because of new capital gains tax rules coming into force tomorrow. The tax rate falls from as high as 40 per cent to 18 per cent, which could save investors more than £20,000 in tax on any profit. The Bank of England faced growing calls to cut interest rates by up to three quarters of a percentage point.

Ray Boulger, of the mortgage brokers John Charcol, said the move by Skipton was unheard of for standard variable rate loans, which are currently held by around two million home owners. "Things are difficult but this takes things to new levels," Mr Boulger said. "The moves are thinly-disguised profiteering," said Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service. "The main victim will be the consumer, who will pay in terms of the lack of convenience; lack of competitive products and much worse to come. "This is the worst problem I've ever seen in my lifetime. It's worse than [the recession] in the early 1990s because it's coming from almost every direction you can care to imagine." - Telegraph 05/04/2008

Homeowners to pick up £1.3bn bank bill of 'reckless' mortgage lenders - Britain's homeowners face paying an extra £1.3bn a year because mortgage lenders have increased their profit margins to recoup their losses from bad debts. Figures reveal that lenders have increased their margin fourfold over the past year, and consumer groups are accusing "reckless" banks of "plundering" homeowners. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of IBAS, said: "They all got into this position and now the customer is going to pay for it." In some instances the margin has increased eightfold in a year. the new figures, compiled by Deutsche Bank, analyse the margin between the rate at which a bank or building society borrows money and the fixed-rate deals it offers. - The Sunday Times 23/03/2008

Lenders accused of profiteering after rates fall - Britain's biggest lenders were accused of profiteering yesterday for putting up tracker mortgage rates despite two recent interest rate cuts. Banks and Building societies insist they have to raise rates because money has become more expensive to borrow since the credit crunch. But, they have been accused of acting to defend their own profit margins as revenue from riskier customers has dropped away. Eddy Weatherill, of the campaign group Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "The banks are greedily trying to retain their profit margins. They are all going to do this, because they can get away with it.

The FSA isn't going to do anything, because banks have been through a traumatic time in the last six months. But it's now impacting on customers in a very, very serious way." Mr Weatherill added " Banks have been profiteering right up to the credit crunch, and now customers are faced with picking up the pieces. We have a market sector that's almost allowed to get away with murder, profiteering to a ridiculous extent." A Halifax spokesman denied it was profiteering. He said: "If it costs banks a lot more to buy money in the wholesale markets they have to pass that cost on to the consumers." - Telegraph 17/02/2008

IBAS Comment: The argument used by Halifax is counter productive because Banks do not pass the same margins to those who invest or save with them, despite using those invested funds or savings to lend to borrowers, with the extra margins added for more bank profit.

Judges cancel man's 15 year mortgage debt - Home owners struggling with mortgage payments faced a tougher approach from banks last night after one man's debt was wiped out by senior judges. Businessman Djabar Babai, 62, had not paid NatWest a penny towards arrears on his £250,000 detached home in 15 years. But three Appeal court judges ruled his mortgage debt should be "extinguished" because the banking giant had taken too long to pursue him. Experts also backed the court's ruling. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "It shows that banks are not above the law. It may seem that this gentleman has got away with it, but the rules are that you must act within 12 years."  -- Daily Express 13/02/2008

Slump debts probe - Debt collectors are still hounding families who lost their homes in the last housing slump. The Office of Fair Trading has been asked to probe claims that hundreds have been harassed on the doorstep, by phone and with letters and threats of legal action.

The complaint comes from Eddy Weatherill, whose Independent Banking Advisory Service is assisting people who are still being chased for cash. He claims that debt collectors breach rules by harassing victims of repossession from more than 12 years ago, when over 500,000 owners lost homes thanks to crippling rises in interest rates. He said: "We have evidence of pressure on customers to make payments." The complaint comes as latest figures show repossessions have jumped 21 per cent to more than 27,000 last year - the highest figure since 1999. - Mirror 12/02/2008

Banks 'greedy' for putting up mortgage bills despite a cut in interest rates - Banks 'get greedy' as interest rate cut. Banks were branded greedy yesterday for pushing up mortgage bills despite a cut in interest rates. After the Bank of England, headed by governor Mervyn King, lowered borrowing by 0.25 per cent to 5.25 per cent, the banks claimed they were passing on the saving.

Major lenders including Abbey, Nationwide, Woolwich, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland all trumpeted 0.25 per cent cuts to their standard mortgage rates, knocking £16 a month off a £100,000 loan. But at the same time, many of them have been quietly increasing the rate they charge for other more competitive deals. Research by Moneyfacts for the Mirror shows that new borrowers are typically paying around £1,500 more for a two-year deal than they were a year ago, when base rates were also 5.25per cent. Financial expert Steven Horrocks said: "The lenders have got the cream and they're desperate to keep it. "There is no way they can justify some of the fees they're charging." The lenders blame the worldwide credit crunch but many experts believe they are simply fattening up their profit margins. One industry insider said the collapse of Northern Rock was partly to blame. He added: "They don't have to be so razor sharp as there's one less shark in the sea." Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said the banks were experts at the "rate squeeze scam". He added: "When the official rate goes up they are quick to pass on the higher cost of borrowing. "But when it goes down they are suddenly not quite so quick on the draw. It is pure greed." Mirror Business  8/02/2008

'Greedy' banks push up mortgage rates - Banks and building societies have been accused of profiteering after official figures showed they had raised million of their customers' mortgage bills before an expected cut in interest rates by the Bank of England. While a cut today should bring some respite for struggling home owners, analysis by the Daily Telegraph shows how banks have not only failed to pass on the previous cut, they have also actually raised the average mortgage rate.

In the past few weeks 10 mortgage lenders, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, Alliance and Leicester and the country's biggest building society, the Nationwide, have increased some of their rates, despite the bank cutting rates from 5.75% to 5.5% in December. Eddy Weatherill, the chairman of the campaign group Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "Over the last decade the banks have used interest rate changes to massage their own rates. When the official rate goes up, they are quick to move. When it goes down, they are slow to pass on the cut to their customers. It is profiteering and consumers end up the losers."

Mick McAteer, a personal finance expert and the former policy adviser at Which?, said: "After the credit crunch banks have attempted to rebuild their profit margins. Not only have they failed to pass on the full benefit of the last cut, I don't think consumers can expect much comfort from any cut this week. 2008 is going to be very painful for an awful lot of people." Since the December lowering of rates by the Bank of England, 10 lenders have increased some of their rates and 19 have failed to cut the rates on their fixed mortgages, according to MoneyFacts, the financial research house. - Telegraph 07/02/2008

UK Bank News - 2007

£2,000 fee the norm for a fixed-rate mortgage - Banks are charging home buyers ever higher fees for taking out a mortgage, according to research undertaken by the Daily Telegraph. Customers wishing to fix their mortgages after five interest rate rises in the past 12 months could be faced with an unpalatable arrangement fee of £5,000 or higher. Fees have risen more than 50% over the past two years from an average of £495 to £774. Campaigners said the research proved that banks were finding ways of raking in extra revenue. Eddy Weatherill, the chief executive of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "It is yet another new and unpalatable fee. Unless they can justify that they are giving their customers any more for their money than they were two years ago, I don't see how they can get away with it. It's all about adding to their profits." Up to two million home owners are estimated to be about to come off their generous fixed rate deals taken out two years ago and will need to take out another mortgage. Not only will they be faced with higher interest rates but they will also be hit by higher fees. - Telegraph 06/11/2007

Sub-prime loan blamed for 7,000 lost homes - Seven out of 10 homes repossessed in recent months were owned by people who bought them with the help of so-called "sub-prime" mortgages - designed for buyers with bad credit records. Research shows that sub-prime mortgage lenders are responsible for more than 70 per cent of 7,000 homes repossessed in the last there months. The findings will be presented on Panorama - BBC tonight - campaigners worry, that despite the Northern Rock fiasco - banks are still lending recklessly, especially to first time buyers. Eddy Weatherill, the chairman of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "Northern Rock was an accident waiting to happen and I do not think it will be a one-off. Banks have gone down the route of short-term profits at all costs."  - Telegraph 08/10/2007

The Banking Crisis - Northern Rock savers have withdrawn more than £2billion from the ailing bank since it applied to the Bank of England for emergency funding. The uncertain future of Britain's fifth largest mortgage lender has sparked fears of a financial crash. What does it mean for you and the economy? Are we heading for a recession? - Unlikely, but Eddy Weatherill believes this should be a wake up call for the Government: "Banks often over react when they get bad news. They're going to be extremely cautious about lending money in any direction. The debt mountain in Britain is £1.25trillion and the risk is that the banks will stop lending in the way they have to those they consider riskier customers. People who are stretched on mortgages will be the first banks look at to get their money back, and you could see people going bankrupt or losing their homes." - Full article Daily Mirror 18/09/2007

After the Rock,  who will be next? - Anger of the on-line savers unable to get at their money. Walter May is one of thousands who have tried and failed to access their on-line accounts since Northern Rock ran into trouble. He wanted to transfer £6,000 to his builders but, like so many others, he has been unable to access the bank's website. His case highlights the drawbacks of internet banking which is used by 8.1million Britons. The recent experiences of Northern Rock customers will do little to reassure other savers that online accounts are as convenient and reliable as banks claim. Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "To all intents and purposes we are seeing a run on the bank. In theory, online banking should allow people access to their money more easily, but that is not happening. The reality is that it is not in the interests of the bank to allow people to get  and move their money when you have a situation like this. But that is just not good enough. If an online banking system does not work at a time when the customer really needs it, the public will loose faith in the entire system." - Full article in Daily Mail 17/09/2007.

Banks 'make up to £3.5bn from charges' - Banks are making up to £3.5bn a year from overdraft fees, the Office of Fair Trading said yesterday. The OFT, which is mid-way through an investigation of the industry, released an estimate of the scale of the charges for the first time. The figures are understood to have been gleaned from the banks themselves, which have been forced to disclose details of their finances. Campaigners argue that most of the revenue raised from overdraft charges is pure profit. "I'd say 70 per cent to 90 per cent goes straight to the bottom line," said Eddy Weatherill, chairman of the Independent Banking Advisory Service. "To my mind this is a pure profiteering exercise." - Daily Telegraph 12/09/2007

Foreign card fees cost £37 a year - Holidaymakers are paying an average fee of 37 for using their credit cards every time they go abroad, researchers said yesterday. Banks were accused of "making profit for profit's sake" from customers who chose to use their cards abroad, with campaigners calling for cuts in their fees. Research undertaken for The Daily Telegraph by personal finance website Moneyfacts shows that, in total, banks charged £726 million last year for credit and debit cards used outside Britain. This works out at about £37 for a family every time they go abroad. With people often taking two or more trips a year the fees can mount up to more than £100 a year. Gary Fitton, The Post Office's head of lending, said: "It's shocking not only to see how much people are being penalised to use their cards on holiday, but how few are aware of this." The Post Office and Nationwide are among only three card issuers that do not inflict hefty fees on travellers. Eddy Weatherill, of Independent Banking Advisory Service, which campaigns against banking fees, said: "If the Nationwide and the Post Office don't have these fees it does beg the question why the others can't do likewise." Andrew Hagger, at Moneyfacts, warned that an increasing number of shops and restaurants abroad were offering so-called "dynamic conversions," which allow people to pay in sterling. But Mr Hagger said that while this looked convenient - and sounded as though it might save on currency conversion - it invariably incurred a further fee. - Daily Telegraph 20/07/2007

Fuel 'customers' fraud anger - victims of card cloning at petrol station in Diss - BBC TV Look East 18/07/2007 - BBC TV  interview with Eddy Weatherill.

Cash loans on a credit card cost a fortune - Credit card giants have been accuse of profiteering from hole in the wall cash borrowers. Firms have put up rates for withdrawing money from ATM's by more than two percent on average in the past six months. Britons use credit cards to withdraw around £750million a month, according to recent figures. Interest is charged from the day of withdrawal. To make matters worse, card companies add on a one-off fee every time a customer withdraws money. The average charge is around 2.5 per cent but can be as high as 3 per cent. The most expensive provider is Vanquis which charges 46.19 per cent on cash withdrawals on its Abacus card. It also charges 39.9 per cent on purchases compared with an industry average of 15.9 per cent. Eddy Weatherill of IBAS, said: "The banks have relied on customers being apathetic and not being astute in financial matters to rip them off." - Daily Express 05/06/2007

Lenders ‘profit’ from rate hike - Mortgage lenders who hit homeowners with rate hikes greater than the recent Bank of England increase have been accused of taking advantage of loyal customers. The move has led to accusations that some mortgage firms are profiteering to the detriment to long-standing customers. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "Every time the base rate changes, the banks do not comply, they massage the rate to suit themselves. It is this massaging of margins that makes a colossal amount of money and the customer isn't in a position to switch or change quickly." Article -Channel 4 News 30/05/2007

Lenders accused on rate hikes - Homeowners are feeling the pinch after some of the biggest mortgage lenders raised their interest rates by more than the Bank of England's latest increase. Several leading banks and building societies have gone beyond the recent quarter-point rise in the base rate to boost profits. They include three brands that are part of the Halifax group, Britain's biggest mortgage lender. Bank of Scotland, Intelligent Finance and The Mortgage Business have put up the standard variable rate on home loans by 0.35 of a point. The tactic will add millions of pounds to the annual income of the Halifax - Bank of Scotland group, which saw a 31 per cent leap in profits last year to £5.7billion.

Standard Life and Nottingham Building Society have also increased their standard-rate home loans by 0.3 per cent. Lenders have boosted their profit margin by scaling back the gains they offer savers. Most have put up the interest rate paid on savings by 0.25 per cent. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "This is nothing short of a scam. The banks are simply lining their pockets at the expense of struggling customers. It is unfair and a disgrace, but there is no regulatory system in place to put a stop to it." Full article - Daily Mail 30/05/2007

Scandal of Mortgage Blunder by banks - Homeowners are being overcharged thousands of pounds because of bank errors in the way their mortgage repayments are being calculated, it emerged yesterday. The news is likely to infuriate thousands of struggling borrowers across Britain who have already hurdled inflated house prices and now face rising interest rates. One farmer paid an extra £56,520 after two separate mistakes by Nationwide. The burden is always on the borrower to find the error and challenge it. The errors affect those people who have taken out repayment-style mortgages. Because some of the capital is paid back every month along with interest, these are more complicated to work out and customers are less likely to realise they are overcharged.

While Alliance & Leicester said that it regularly reviewed repayments for errors, neither Nationwide nor Abbey make routine checks. Alliance & Leicester said new computer programmes would eliminate any future errors. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: “Banks are supposed to be experts at looking after all sorts of financial services. If they are making basic mistakes with mortgages, what can they be trusted with?” Full article - Daily Express 28/05/2007

Lenders quietly squeeze you for an extra
£660m - exclusive scandal of rates 'fiddle' - Greedy lenders are milking an extra £760 a year from homeowners through devious interest rate changes. A Your Money investigation has revealed how the top 10 lenders have taken advantage of interest rate changes in the past six years to boost their annual profits by £660million. Our probe shows that in 2001, when the Bank of England interest rates were last at the current level of 5.5 per cent, standard mortgage rates averaged 6.9 per cent. Today they are a hefty 7.3 per cent - and are set to go higher because half the 10 have yet to pass on the 0.25 per cent rise imposed by the Bank last week. "This goes to show how easily banks are able to manipulate customers," says Eddy Weatherill, from IBAS. "By scraping a percentage point here, and adding a little bit there they are actually taking millions of pounds out of people's pockets." full article - Mirror 16/05/2007

Cash is to ashes - New pay card could spell end of money. The death of cash is just round the corner as banks prepare to launch swipe-and-go pay cards. Shoppers will start using the technology to buy goods under £10 from September. Cards are simply tapped on an oval pad - concluding purchases in seconds. About 20 billion payments of under £10 are made in the UK every year. Independent businesses could now end up forking out more than £15million to get an upgrade. It will cost them about £50 each. Eddy Weatherill of IBAS said "it's all about a quicker way of making money out of us". To prevent fraud, on random occasions shoppers will be asked to input their pin. - Mirror 08/05/2007

Flexible fiends - Card firms fleece us for £1bn..after ruling to cut fees - Greedy credit card firms are raking in an extra £1billion a year from customers despite a ruling meant to cut their rip-off fees. A year after a Government clampdown on late payment charges, Britain's biggest banks and credit card firms are finding new ways to fleece cardholders. A new range of profit-raising tactics, including: Pushing up interest rates on cash withdrawals, imposing monthly admin charges on card accounts and penalizing customers who stay in credit for more than a year. Consumer watchdogs have slammed the stealth charges as "daylight robbery". Eddy Weatherill of IBAS, said: "They are desperate to squeeze every last penny out of customers to recover their lost millions." More than 50 cards have increased their interest rates by up to 12.6% in the last year bringing in an extra £675m. They are also raising balance transfer fees. Consumer champion Which? say credit card firms are making an extra £400million a year from the confusing way they calculate interest charges and has lodged a "super-complaint" with the OFT, urging the government regulator to standardize calculation methods in an effort to make them fairer and easier to understand. - Sunday Mirror 06/05/2007

£12 fine if you forget to tell the bank you've moved - Credit card customers face being fined £12 if they forget to tell their bank about a change of address. The Royal Bank of Scotland, which includes NatWest and Mint, is introducing the fee as finance giants move to impose more 'backdoor charges". The banks claim the fee, applying to more than five million customers, is necessary to cover the cost of tracing those they have not been able to find. But consumer groups believe it is about fuelling profits. Other new charges, which apply to all RBS, NatWest and Mint credit card customers, include the imposition of high interest rates for buying gift vouchers or for placing a bet with a credit card. In the past, such purchases would be treated as any other, such a groceries or a restaurant meal, which attract interest at an annual rate of 16.9 per cent. In future they will be treated the same as a cash advance and attract annual interest of 24.9 per cent. The moves come as the banks and credit card companies retaliate against a decision by the Office Of Fair Trading to cap penalty charges. Banks have been forced to cut them from around £25 for missing a payment to a maximum of £12. But they have responded by putting up the interest rates for any cash withdrawals, generally to about 20 per cent, and reduced the interest-free period for shoppers. Eddy Weatherill, of IBAS, said: "The charges made by RBS are just one of a series of new stealth charges. The banks lost income after being told they must slash their illegal and unfair penalty charges on credit cards, but they are looking to maintain what are obscene levels of profit by pushing up other charges. What kind of a country are we living in where banks are told to get rid of one rip off and they simply introduce another one to protect their profits?" - Full article - Mail on Sunday 29/04/2007

Bonus rap for HSBC - HSBC came under fire yesterday for paying managers huge bonuses despite missing targets. Around 12,000 senior staff shared more than £27million from the three-year incentive scheme. Eddy Weatherill, of the IBAS group, said: "They've been cheating customers for years, so it's no surprise that they can bend the rules if it's going to make them more money." The small print of the bank's annual report confirms the pay committee "exercised its discretion, as permitted by the plan, to waive this performance condition." An HSBC spokesman stressed the bank's senior directors lost out on share options worth around £7m due to the poorly performing share price. - Mirror Money 17/04/2007

Banks put up holiday fees - Pay more to use plastic and cash machines - Britons will face even higher bank charges when they go abroad this summer. They will be hit with extra fees for using their debit cards in shops and restaurants and withdrawing cash from ATM's. NatWest is the first to ramp up its charges before the summer holidays. It is raising fees for overseas debit card deals and cash machine withdrawals from 2.65 per cent to 2.75 per cent. And customers will also pay £1.25 - up from 75p - every time they use their debit card to pay bills. The big banks already rake in £535million a year in hidden charges from holiday makers. But they are determined to compensate for the £12 penalty charge cap imposed by the OFT on missed credit card payments last year. NatWest defended the increases, saying charges have not gone up since 2001. But consumer watchdog IBAS, said: "it's completely obscene. It does not cost that amount to process these transactions." - Sunday Mirror 15/04/2007

HSBC criticised for branch which only serves the rich - Campaigners have condemned plans by a leading bank to set up a branch where only the wealthiest customers receive face-to-face services. John McFall, chairman of the Commons Treasury Select Committee, said the move by HSBC "flew in the face" of commitments by banks and the Government to financial inclusion while charities attacked the decision for neglecting the needs of the elderly. Campaigners say the decision will hit vulnerable banking customers the hardest. Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Service said: "This is pandering to those that have the 'rich life', but a lot of people do not enjoy that privilege. Banks are taking away more and more services for customers." HSBC's decision comes just months after MP's attacked the banking sector for treating its poorest customers as "second-class citizens." - The Independent 13/04/2007

Bank bans the poor - Greedy HSBC bosses were last night slammed for heaping yet more misery on their long suffering customers. The bank is already under fire for making record profits of £11Billion last year while fleecing people with outrageous penalty charges. Now it has decided to ban its ordinary, hard working customers from a branch that will cater exclusively for the rich. And a bank spokesman twisted the knife by declaring yesterday: "Not everybody in the world is equal. Some people have higher incomes and need greater services through the bank. These customers demand a better service." Ordinary customers can also receive the personal service - but only if they pay £19.95 a month to join the bank's Premier Service account. Eddy Weatherill, of IBAS, said last night: "It's outrageous. People want to be able to walk into their local branch and talk to someone about their account. What is worse is the fact that banking is supposed to be a service industry. Instead they have been steadily removing the service we receive until it has almost disappeared. Services are being cut to make record profits." - Mirror 12/04/2007

The bank that will only talk to you if you are very rich - A high street bank has sparked outrage after ordering staff at one of its branches to serve only rich customers. HSBC bosses have told employees to speak only to Premier account customers - those with either £50,000 in savings, a £200,000 mortgage or a £100,000 mortgage plus a salary of £75,000. All other account holders must travel at least a mile to another branch if they wish to be served personally. The Canford Cliffs bank no longer has a counter service, and customers have to withdraw cash from ATM's and pay in money at self-service tills. But, there are staff available to give advice to Premier account customers about HSBC products. Ray Smith, a local councillor and former mayor of Poole, said: "I'm very unhappy with this policy. The majority of people here are elderly and they might be property rich but they are cash poor. The perception in London seems to be that everybody is rich here. The bank should be ashamed of themselves - it is absolutely outrageous." Eddy Weatherill, from IBAS, said: "This is typical of a bank trying to get the most money from the people they want to target. They seem to forget they are in a service industry." - Daily Express 12/04/2007

Banks' 'blackmail' halts cut in fees - Banks were accused of blackmail yesterday for threatening to end free banking if they were forced to reduce overdraft charges and other penalty fees. John Fingleton, the OFT's chief executive, said he wanted an investigation into current account charges because he feared that a "quick fix" solution would disadvantage customers. But campaigners said that the regulator had been blackmailed. Banks have claimed that free current accounts would no longer be possible if bank charges were capped, because they would need to make up the money somewhere else. Eddy Weatherill, of IBAS, condemned the banks. "They are effectively saying that if you penalize us we'll pursue the customer even further than we already do," he said. "This is commercial blackmail." Which? said: "The OFT is asking the banks to justify themselves in terms of the regulations. If the charges are fair then they have nothing to hide." - Daily Telegraph 30/03/2007

How HSBC sends its poorer callers abroad - Britain's biggest bank is diverting poorer customers to foreign call centres while more profitable clients are dealt with in the UK. HSBC has admitted filtering calls from 8.5 million customers with current accounts and transferring them after assessing factors such as monthly income and credit rating. The number of products an individual has with the bank, and the way in which each manages their money, are also taken into account. Customers are then graded on a scoring system. Their ranking is accessed as they give their account number when calling the bank. Eddy Weatherill, from IBAS, said: 'This smacks of a first-class and second-class system. If you are struggling to make ends meet you will be passed over to a second-class service. It is a fact that money drives the system. The opportunity to make more profit exists with those who have more funds in their accounts.' - Daily Mail 26/03/2007

Bank chief in £8.5m fat-cat row - for only 5 months work - Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "The banks are a licence to print money and it is clear that rule extends right the way through to the directors and executives. Payments running into millions of pounds for just a few months work will stick in the throat of customers who have been unfairly treated - By any measure, the bank's top executives are picking up huge rewards for failure, the failure to offer customers fair charges and good value financial products." Full story - Daily Mail 06/03/2007

Why don't banks compete harder? - Robert Peston's article and response from Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of IBAS - BBC News - Reporters 01/03/2007

Barclays' £7bn bank robbery - profits at Barclays shot up by more than a third to a record £7.1 billion last year. Eddy Weatherill said: "They are the new highwaymen" - "The banks are having a heyday and they will continue to do so while customers sit still and don't look at what is being offered" - Daily Mail 20/02/2007

Price hike for using credit cards abroad - Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: "We are seeing extra charges being heaped on the cost of using a card overseas. That is just one of a series of stealth charges. The banks lost income after being told they must slash their illegal and unfair penalty charges on credit cards, but they are looking to maintain what are obscene levels of profit by pushing up other hidden charges. What country are we living in where banks are told to get rid of one rip-off and they simply introduce another one in order to protect their profits?" - Daily Mail 23/02/2007

UK Bank news - 2006

Low cost of running current accounts highlighted in study - The UK is one of the cheapest countries for customers to run a current account, according to a study published today. The report comes amid concerns that banks in the UK could charge customers for operating a current account, heralding the end of free banking. The study concluded that a typical UK customer using a range of banking services was "able to benefit from some of the cheapest services of all the countries in this study". Ian Mullen, chief executive of the British Bankers Association, said: "No study of this type is without its limitations, and these are explained clearly in the report." But Eddy Weatherill, of The Independent Banking Advisory Service, said customers who strayed outside their credit zones often were hit with large penalty fees. - Financial Times Banking 05/12/2006

Does £10 fee signal end of free banking? - A bank is to charge thousands of customers £10 a month for their current account in what could be the beginning of the end for free banking. First Direct, an Internet and telephone bank, will levy the fee on its poorer customers - those who pay in less than £1,500 a month or whose average balance is less than £1,500. It is the first time a major bank has imposed automatic fees on a mass of ordinary customers. Others are expected to follow. The big five banks made a record £31billion last year. Banks are looking to impose current account charges because they are under pressure to cut illegal and unfair fees linked to overdrafts. Eddy Weatherill, founder of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, described the charge as 'sheer greed'. 'The banks are being told they must end the monumental rip-off on overdraft charges, so they are responding by switching the rip-off to another heading. This fee will hit those on lower incomes. At the same time many people who run their accounts responsibly, and stay in the black, will be caught out.' - Daily Mail 15/11/2006

Your overdraft is just the penalty? - Go £1 in the red - and bank hits you for £30. Rip-off banks are turning the screw again by imposing stiffer penalties on customers who slip into the red. From Today, Lloyds TSB is scrapping the £10 "buffer zone" it had allowed customers who exceed their overdraft limit. It means Lloyds will slap a charge of £30 plus extortionate interest of 29.8 per cent on anyone who clocks up an unauthorised overdraft of even £1 for one day. What's more, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, HSBC, and Clydesdale Bank have all raised their authorised overdraft rates - some by as much as two percent, according to financial experts at Moneyfacts.

This seems like bare-faced cheek, given that the Office of Fair Trading is already looking at current accounts for evidence of unfair charges. Eddy Weatherill of the Banking Advisory Group goes further, accusing the banks of "profiteering". He says his organisation is swamped with complaints from customers who feel they are being fleeced. The big five banks made record profits last year. "Yet they're still looking for new ways to boost their coffers," says Weatherill. "It's the interest charge that is the killer coming on top of the fees. Lloyds is charging 25 per cent more than the Bank of England base rate. That really is extortion, they can't justify that. It's profiteering." - Mirror Money 01/11/2006

Banks accused of 'illegal' overdraft charges - banks have been accused of imposing illegal charges of hundred of millions of pounds on customers who have gone overdrawn. It emerged last week that banks are already making compensation payments of as much as £3,000 to customers who have complained, rather than try to defend the penalties in court. Campaigners want a judicial review of the issue to confirm that many of the charges - estimated at £4.7billion a year are unlawful. "Consumers are fighting back and seem to have found a chink in the banks' armour," said Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service. "The banks don't want to see this tested in court because the law is not on their side." Stephen Sidkin, a commercial lawyer, said "If someone takes an action against a bank to recover charges, I think it would be open to them under the law of contract to go back six years." - Sunday Times 06/08/2006

Free banking to be axed, warns leading bank - The UK's richest bank, HSBC, made clear charging is inevitable yesterday in what is seen as a move to protect profits. It came as the bank revealed that its own profits surged 18per cent to a staggering £6.7billion in the first six months of its financial year. The threat of annual charges triggered condemnation from consumer groups and politicians who complained customers are already facing rip-offs. The big banks are casting around for new ways to raise money following efforts by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to clamp down on penalty charges. IBAS, a consumer body, condemned the idea of annual fees. Founder Eddy Weatherill 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.' The Lib-Dem Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable MP, said: 'The idea that the way to appease consumers upset at large banking profits is to introduce an annual fee is astonishing. Bank accounts are now a necessity, rather than a luxury. If these reports are true it shows a worrying neglect of their customers' interests.' - Daily Mail 01/08/2006

Holidaymakers hit with £535m hidden charges - Holidaymakers face hidden charges of £535million on using debit and credit cards overseas this year, it has been claimed. Most of these charges are hidden in the statement small-print and a trick with currency conversion rates, a ploy which makes it difficult to work out the fees. Consumer groups accused the banks of being greedy and complained that the charges are not properly explained. The customer lobbying group, the Independent Banking Advisory Service, is critical of the charges. Founder Eddy Weatherill said: 'The big banks are making a fortune from charges which many customers simply don't realise they are being charged. This is pure greed,' he said. 'The charges are hidden away. You need to be some sort of mathematical genius to work them out.' Nationwide's executive director, Stuart Bernau, said 'Quite frankly, some organisations are making excessive profits out of their customers through the cost of foreign currency, travel insurance and most of all card use abroad. To make matters worse, some of these costs are not exactly transparent.' - Daily Mail 21/07/2006

Comment - Given the banking industry has a strong foothold with the Chancellor's office and has yet to become a victim of a windfall tax, associations, such as the Banking Advisory Service, will be busy campaigning for more "policing" in the banking industry to ensure consumers' interests are paramount - Editor, Money Market - April 2006

Huge profits, but the banks are facing 50pc more complaints - Complaints against banks have soared by 50 per cent in a year, as they continue to reap record profits from high charges and interest rates. Poor service, baffling small print, steep penalty charges and mistakes are among the problems that have driven customers to contact the Banking Code Standards Board. The BCSB received 3,500 complaints and inquiries in 2005, an increase of 50% on 2004. But this may be the tip of the iceberg. Separately, The Financial Services Ombudsman Service, which also deals with bank disputes, is ready for a 40% rise in complaints, particularly over rising fees. 'These figures are damning evidence that banks are abusing their power,' said Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, a consumer group. The Office of Fair Trading has recently taken a tougher line on bank charges. The BCSB is also worried that banks are failing to deal with customers' complaints properly. It has referred this to the City watchdog, The Financial Services Authority. - Daily Mail 03/05/2006

Editor Comment - Given the banking industry has a strong foothold with the Chancellor's office and has yet to become a victim of a windfall tax, associations such as the Banking Advisory Service, will be busy campaigning for more "policing" in the banking industry to ensure consumers' interests are paramount - Money Market -April 2006

Card charges slashed - Credit card companies will be forced to slash their late payment charges by up to 40 per cent, it emerged last night - An 18-month investigation by the Office of Fair Trading will make all credit card providers cut the fees, which can be up to £25. Late payment charges affect all customers who miss a payment deadline, exceed a credit limit, or if a payment bounces. Yesterday critics said that even the reduced charge was too high compared to the minor costs incurred by the banks when customers miss payment deadlines. Eddy Weatherill from the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: 'Every time a person gets into a problem with their bank, they are repeatedly whacked with huge charges.' He described the £15 fee as 'horrendous' and said that a maximum charge of £5 would be a better deal. - Daily Mail 13/03/2006

Bank Profits a Huge Concern - IBAS spokesman Eddy Weatherill said: "There has been a plundering of the consumer by banks. The industry is under-policed." IBAS is calling on the Chancellor Gordon Brown to impose a windfall tax on the banks but remains pessimistic. "The Government has resisted every opportunity to tax the industry so we can assume it is not going to happen." - Reported in This is Dorset, icLiverpool, Manchester Evening News, Evening Times, Daily Mail, 07/03/2006 and 8/03/2006 and Evening Standard 06/03/2006

HSBC Cash Cow - £11.5BN Profit is British Banking's Biggest Ever. Second only to the £13bn Shell made last year for the biggest profit in UK history. Up 11% on 2004. The bank's five best paid staff shared £35m. Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Group said: "These are eye-watering amounts, yet the banks are raising fees and finding new ways of fleecing customers. It's time the government put a stop to it and slapped a windfall tax on them.' But HSBC defended its position, claiming it made only 20 per cent of its profit in the UK. - Daily Mirror 07/03/2006

Debt fears as HSBC makes £12bn profit - HSBC, which also owns the internet bank First Direct, said last years profits were an 11% improvement on the year before. The profit from retail banking in the UK increased 24% - faster than business banking. Eddy Weatherill, of the consumer group the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said banks should have a windfall tax imposed. He blamed them for Britain's personal debt crisis. HSBC doubled its provisions fro bad debts from £317million to £622million, as people struggled to pay off loans. - Telegraph 07/03/2006

£1,000-a-second profits help HSBC post record earnings for British Bank - HSBC unveiled profits of £11.9billion yesterday - the biggest ever recorded by a British Bank. The announcement came after other banks including Barclays, NatWest-Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and Halifax-Bank of Scotland announced record profits and amid claims from some consumer groups that major banks make too much money. HSBC's figures mean the 'big five' made more than £33billion last year. But the big banks are coming under increasing fire for pushing up charges on overdrafts and credit cards. One consumers' group has accused them of ripping off customers and called for the Chancellor Gordon Brown to hit back with a windfall tax.

There is also pressure from within the industry, for a watchdog with teeth to protect consumer interests. Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory service, said: 'There has been a plundering of the consumer by banks. The industry is under-policed with no real control.'

All major banks have reported a surge in levels of bad debt - a situation they have been accused of fuelling through reckless lending. The banks say they have now tightened their lending rules and vet customers more closely. But Mr Weatherill described this as 'like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted'.

The independent New Economic Foundation think-tank has accused the major banks of profiteering, claiming they target customers who generate big profits, while refusing accounts to those on low incomes - Daily Mail 07/03/2006

How much do banks make out of me? Banks are reporting record profit levels - with HSBC alone making £11.9bn. The big banks between them have announced annual earnings of more than £33bn. But banks are unusual businesses in that not only do they have their own money - and lots of it - they also have our money, tucked away in our accounts and savings.

Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Service says that current accounts work as a recruiting ground for more lucrative products - such as mortgages, pensions, credit cards and insurance. And this isn't small change, as gross mortgage lending at the beginning of this year was running at over £14bn. Mr Weatherill wants banks to pay a windfall tax, arguing that banks have made excessive profits from excessive charges.

Inflated interest rates, charges, fees and penalties have all been applied to business and personal customers, says Mr Weatherill. And he says that bank customers are, on average, being overcharged by £400 per year and he says that many customers do not realize they might be buying their insurance, using a payment system or getting a loan, all through the same banking organization. Read article at  BBC News Magazine 07/03/2006

1.5m Britons 'are too far in the red ever to pay back loans' - More than 1.5million people are at risk of 'financial meltdown' - weighed down by such massive debts that they can never hope to pay them off. The total debt for those who struggle to make only minimum card and loan repayments each month has been put at £20billion. The average debt of those forced into personal insolvency now tops £37,000 on cards and personal loans.

Meanwhile, the bad debts at Lloyds pile up to nearly £1bn. - Bad debt levels at Lloyds TSB have risen by a third as customers struggle to keep up with loan and credit card repayments. IBAS accused Lloyds TSB of irresponsible lending. Founder Eddy Weatherill, said 'We are talking about real stress and misery' - Daily Mail 25/02/2006

Barclays increases charges as profits soar to £15billion - Barclays is to hit millions of customers with a punishing increase in charges, it emerged yesterday as the bank announced record annual profits. It is pushing up the fee for those who go over their overdraft limit by £5 to £30, which is an inflation busting 20%. Consumer groups accused Barclays and the other major banks of cashing in on debt misery. Consumer groups  accused the banks of using the fees, generated on overdrafts and credit cards, both to punish customers and rake in an income put at £4billion a year. The consumer group IBAS - The Independent Banking Advisory Service - accused Barclays of 'pure greed'. Founder Eddy Weatherill said: 'It is obscene to find that Barclays is pushing up charges which we believe will be proved unlawful. All these charges are generated by computers and cost just pennies, yet the banks are filling their coffers by charging £30 or £35 a time. This is pure profiteering, pure greed. They are picking customers' pockets. It has got to the point where they are abusing the customers.' - Daily Mail 22/02/2006

Barclays row over £15million 'perk' - The head of Barclays Bank was awarded a £15million bonus yesterday - as customers were told of a 700 per cent rise in some charges. IBAS chief Eddy Weatherill said customers would be "apoplectic" at the bonus. He added: "For two years now, the banks have continued to profiteer unchecked. But enough is enough." - Daily Express 22/02/2006

Identity crisis that haunts all bank customers - Fraud: Profits are soaring and so is ID crime. So why aren't the banks doing more to protect our accounts? - Identity fraud is costing Britain £1.7bn a year, Home Office ministers revealed this week, underlining the case for ID cards. But are the banks doing enough to protect us? Critics accuse the banks of skimping on security despite record profits, expected to exceed £30bn this year.

One study claims that sloppy call centre security at the banks leaves current accounts - the cornerstone of most people's finances - at the mercy of attack from ID fraudsters. Rogue direct debits, which send cash from a current account to pay a fraudster's bills, are a particular favourite.

Just before Christmas, Pamela Holmes spotted a string of rogue direct debits had stripped her account of more than £1,000. Abbey, her bank, was unaware that fraudsters were using her account details and personal information to set up transactions.

Ms Holmes was shocked that repeated attacks on her account could be successful. Only once Guardian Money stepped in has anyone from the bank explained how it happened.

Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Service says Ms Holmes' experience is repeated every day. "The security offered by the banks is not as good as it should be. Someone only needs a small amount of personal information to attack a customer's account." He says banks also fail to give customers information about the fraud and how criminals are targeting their account. "We find the banks are reluctant to do anything other than blame the customer. The Banking Code of Practice is still a joke. The banks don't explain anything properly. They don't tell people what has gone on, or how they can prevent it happening again. The code's first article says customers must be treated fairly, but it all becomes legalistic very quickly," he says. - The Guardian 04/02/2006

Banks face price war over current account that pays 4.25 per cent - Banks are expected to be dragged into a price war after a dramatic move by the Nationwide Building Society. It has launched a current account paying 4.25% interest - higher than many specialist savings accounts from which money cannot be withdrawn immediately. Customers who switched from banks could find themselves £120 a year better off. In a second attack on the Bog Four, Nationwide has pegged the interest rate charged on its authorized overdraft on FlexAccounts to a relatively low 7.75% - by comparison, the big four are around 15% plus.

Eddy Weatherill, of the consumer group Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: 'I believe the Nationwide will get an avalanche of applications. Unlike the big banks, which are all about chasing profits, Nationwide is a mutual operation run in the interests of its customers. Nationwide has different motives from the Big Four, and it shows.'

Which? has been urging the public to shop around for the best current accounts. It claims the major banks are effectively overcharging customers by an average of £400 a year through a range of poor-value deals on loans and savings, together with high fees.

Two existing current accounts pay higher interest than the Nationwide deal. The Abbey has an account paying 6%, but this is a special promotion available only to new customers and runs for 12 months before reverting to the bank's normal 2.5%. Alliance and Leicester's Premier Direct pays 4.89%, but is an Internet-only account. - Daily Mail 17/01/2006

A bank supervisor and cashier were facing prison today after being convicted of siphoning hundreds of thousand of pounds from the accounts of three former Premiership footballers. The pair methodically milked the accounts of ex-Manchester City players, extracting more than £300,000 over two years. Their deception was only uncovered after an internal audit revealed the unusual transfers between the accounts. Sherwood, a clerk at the Co-op bank in Manchester, was described in court as the driving force behind the fraud. He helped himself to almost £240,000, which was used to fund a gambling addiction. The men all pleaded guilty to multiple theft charges during the 45-minute hearing. Sherwood asked for a further 91 offences to be taken into consideration. Eddy Weatherill, chief executive of the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS), said the case highlighted the need for tighter controls on banks. He said: "It raises concerns about what kind of supervision is provided to oversee staff. If cases such as this can occur, then the controls used to monitor staff are not satisfactory." - Times 04/01/2006

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