Banking reform must work for consumers
12 September 2011
The Financial Services Consumer Panel welcomes the publication of the Independent Commission on Banking's report. The Consumer Panel has consistently called for better treatment of bank customers and believes that this report creates a unique opportunity to make changes that will help consumers and business.
We welcome the proposal for depositor preference, placing retail deposits over other forms of bank debt, as this will encourage share and bond holders to take greater responsibility for the behaviour of the banks. The proposals to give competition powers to the FCA, to make account switching easier and to require greater transparency will all help consumers get a better deal from banks.
Adam Phillips, Chair of the Consumer Panel commented:
"The Panel welcomes this serious and constructive attempt to reform the banking system. Retail banks need to be run in the interests of their customers. This report represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to achieve the change consumers and business deserve.
There is clearly a lack of choice in UK retail banking when just five major banks dominate the high street. The reform of financial services regulation must bring effective competition, end unfair charges and drive-up standards of service. The report is a good start, but there will need to be close attention to getting the details right in the final regulations, if the proposed changes are to work for consumers. Bank accounts are an essential part of life and it is vital that consumers get a fair deal from organisations that they should be able to trust.
The Panel believes that a well functioning and competitive market that delivers the right outcomes for consumers will also deliver a sustainable and less risky business for the retail banking industry as a whole. Well-managed, competitive banks operating in a well-regulated sector where banks focus on good ongoing customer service is a goal worth pursuing.
The Government must now give serious consideration to these proposals and a firm commitment to the realistic timetable which Vickers has proposed."
- The Consumer Panel's submission to the ICB can be found on our website
- The Consumer Panel's research on BCOBs is available on our website as is the Consumer Panel's position paper on retail banking.
- The Consumer Panel is a statutory body under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and was initially established by the Financial Services Authority in December 1998. The Panel advises the FSA on the interests and concerns of consumers and reports on the FSA's performance in meeting its objectives.
- The emphasis of the Panel's work is on activities that are regulated by the FSA, although it may also look at the impact on consumers of activities outside but related to the FSA's remit..