Which? launches banking reform campaignWhere is the consumer bail-out?

22 October 2008

canary wharf

The government has invested billions of taxpayer pounds in the banking sector

In response to the banking crisis, Which? today launches a new campaign to reform the banking system, by calling on the government to ensure that banks put consumers at the heart of their business.

As billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is committed to the government bailout of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds TSB and HBOS, Which? says that now is the time for banks to help their consumers.

According to research conducted by Which? in the last week, four in five people (81%) think that an overhaul of the banking system is needed in order to avoid a repeat of the current financial crisis, two thirds (67%) blame the banks for the crisis with nearly three quarters (73%) saying they have been exposed to ‘irresponsible lending’.

Fair interest rates

In a letter to the Chancellor, Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP, Which? is demanding that the government takes action to help anxious consumers, such as forcing nationalised banks to immediately pass on base rate changes to their customers.

Which? is also calling on consumers to take action by emailing the Chancellor. People who want to see long-term changes to the UK banking industry can back the Which? Banking reform campaign.

With the backing of consumers’ emails, Which? wants the government to mirror its unprecedented steps to bail out the banks and set up an independent review of retail banking to implement reforms that will put consumers’ interests at the heart of the industry

Savings and mortgage worries

Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith said: 'The banks have had their bail-out - now it’s time for them to deal sympathetically and fairly with the plight of ordinary consumers, many of whom are anxious about their savings or struggling with their mortgage. It is the government’s duty, as a major shareholder, to ensure this happens.

'The government cannot afford to pass up this unique opportunity to make long-term, consumer-focused changes to the banking industry, and in the short-term we’re after a fairer deal for consumers. We want to see an independent review leading to an overhaul of an industry that is characterised by weak competition, irresponsible behaviour and a terrible record for treating customers properly.'

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