Banks must do better for customers warns head of OFT

Banks must do better for personal account customers or face forced change warned the head of Office of Fair Trading in a speech today.

Fingleton said that increased competition and regulation should drive a more "customer focused" approach from banks by taking steps such as making charging structures and switching bank accounts easier.

Fingleton went on:

"For too long banks have needed pressure, often sustained, from regulators and enforcers to introduce things they should already have been doing.

"It shouldn't need a super-complaint for banks to provide clear information to consumers on obvious areas such as the interest rate paid on their saving account or the charges they pay when using their cards abroad."

"new competition and a new approach to regulation could lead to a new direction in banking. This means change on the part of providers."

Banks could face forced action if they do not take steps to improves services to personal account holders.

"If we do not see real change from banks, then a more radical approach needs to be considered. We cannot just continue working with business on incremental change if this does not deliver results."

"Competition and financial stability are perfectly consistent, providing there is proper regulation to tackle excessive risk taking. We welcome the Government's decision to give the FCA a clear remit to place effective competition at the heart of its regulatory approach, so that it regards competition as a key mechanism for achieving effective outcomes for consumers."

Fingleton also called for customers to be "more engaged with their banking services" to make better use of the services available.

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