A round-up of the main news stories from this week.
Campaigners Seek Minimum Standards for Bank Accounts
Campaigners have called for a set of minimum standards for basic bank accounts, after banks have withdrawn accounts and limited access to ATM machines. Barclays is currently the only bank to offer accounts to undischarged bankrupts. Meanwhile, the Royal Bank of Scotland has joined the list of banks to withdraw access to its Link cash machines for basic bank account holders.
Santander Clashes With Barclays and HSBC Over Reforms
The chief executive of Santander has clashed with the head of Barclays and the chairman of HSBC over UK banking reforms. Ana Botin told the Parliamentary Committee on Banking Standards this week that it would take time to implement reforms. Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins and HSBC Chairman Douglas Flint disagreed, arguing that new rules on improving banking standards should be accelerated to allow banks to put them into place at first opportunity.
New Mortgage With “Waivers” For Emergencies
Mutual lenders have proposed new mortgages with built-in insurance that will allow repayments to be “waivered” in the event of incapacity or redundancy. The new mortgages would see lenders recovering the missed payments through insurance. Two major societies are ready to offer the mortgages from early next year if they receive approval from the Financial Services Authority in December.
Nationwide Waiting On IT Compatibility
And finally: Nationwide’s interest in buying up over 300 branches from the Royal Bank of Scotland could rest upon the compatibility of their IT systems, which is thought to be why Santander aborted its bid for the branches. Regulators have described RBS’ systems as antiquated, and the group suffered major problems in the summer following a software upgrade, which also affected customers at NatWest and Ulster Bank. It is thought that bidders may use the IT issues to try and lower the price, but RBS still hopes to be allowed to keep the branches.
Also, on the Finance Blog this week:
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