Competition and choice in retail banking - Treasury Contents

Written evidence submitted by Ian Kerry

As with trying to work out which utility company is the cheapest, it is very complex to work out whether one bank is cheaper that the rest. And then once you have made a decision it is hugely complex to change banks. Opening new accounts (mainly I assume for terrorism and laundering on money issues) is very long winded. When I changed my business accounts from Abbey to Co-op 18 months ago, I regretted doing so on several occasions.

Could there be a set number of fees and charges that all banks had to produce so that the poor consumer could see at a glance how competitive each account/bank was? Mind you they seem to change the fees etc fairly often. Perhaps they should be allowed to anytime they want but hold them the same for a 24 month period.

This probably has nothing to do with the enquiry but the situation of when you do an online transfer and get one digit wrong on the sort code. At the moment the bank KEEPS this money (even if the account doesn't exist). They don't return it (even though the name on the account and the account code differ). They don't let you know that there has been an error. So after five months from me paying £10k corporation tax, thinking the government has been paid, I receive a letter from HMRC saying why hasn't it been paid? It seems one digit was wrong, the bank keeps the money, gets the interest, tells no-one, takes a further two months (and counting) to get the money back. AND ALL THIS IS LEGAL!!!!

I will put aside all my anger at the bonuses bankers are still receiving when the rest of the country are losing their jobs or suffering cutbacks. Either you guys can't do anything about it or you find it acceptable, either way it makes the whole country angry!

September 2010

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