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‘Where is the consumer bail-out?’

After bailing out banks what about consumers?

Billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been committed to bail out the UK’s failing banks.

Now is the time for banks to help out consumers and for the Government to ensure that the banks are putting consumers at the heart of their business, says Which? as it launches a major new campaign to reform banking.

Four in five people (81 per cent) think that an overhaul of the banking system is needed in order to avoid a repeat of the current financial crisis, according to new research by Which? Two thirds (67 per cent) of people blame the banks for the crisis with nearly three quarters (73 per cent) saying they have been exposed to ‘irresponsible lending’.

In a letter to Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP, Which? is demanding that the Government takes action to help anxious consumers, such as forcing banks that have received taxpayers’ money to immediately pass on base rate changes to their customers.

Which? is also calling for an independent review of retail banking to implement reforms that will put consumers’ interests at the heart of the industry.

Which? is calling on consumers to email the Chancellor, asking for the Government to mirror its unprecedented steps to bail out the banks with steps to help ordinary consumers.

Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith says: “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-focussed 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.”

Which? offers advice on protecting your savings throughout the banking crisis

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