A round-up of the main news stories from this week. (Audio to follow)
HSBC Faces Money-Laundering Fine
HSBC faces a $1.9 billion fine after the US senate concluded that lax procedures at the bank had facilitated money laundering by drug barons and war-mongering nations. The report alleged that the bank had overlooked suspicious transfer activity from Mexico to the US and had flouted safeguards designed to prevent criminal activity. The bank apologised for its past mistakes, saying that it has invested hundreds of millions on improving its systems to ensure that this will never happen again.
Peer-to-Peer Lenders Celebrate “Watershed Moment”
Peer-to-peer lenders are celebrating a “watershed moment” after learning that they are to be fully regulated by the new Financial Conduct Authority in 2014. Peer-to-peer lending has reached £300 million to date, and has become popular given the difficulty in raising loans from banks and the high cost of payday loans. The industry has argued for regulation to support its credibility, and the new measures will encourage depositors because of the protection on offer from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
E-On to Raise Gas and Electricity Prices in January
Energy company E.On, having pledged not to raise its gas & electricity prices in 2012, is to do so at the first opportunity in 2013. From 18th January, dual-fuel customers will see prices rise by 8.7%, the firm announced, which is expected to add around another £100 on to the average annual dual-fuel bill. The company attributed the hike to rising wholesale prices and higher energy transport costs. The announcement means that all major providers will have raised their energy prices during this winter.
Grim Forecast for Savers
And finally. The forecast for savers is looking grim as banks and building societies have started withdrawing their bonds and savings accounts. With savers realising that already tumbling rates may not recover in the near future, the scramble for remaining deals has led stretched banks to withdraw the products. Experts have pointed to the contribution of the government’s Funding for Lending Scheme, which has reduced the need for banks to attract deposits from savers.
Santa Claus: A Financial Analysis
Breaking the Ice: Positive Omens
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