Which?: We back Banking Commission's call for strong govt action

Which?: We back Banking Commission's call for strong govt action
Which?: We back Banking Commission's call for strong govt action

Peter Vicary–Smith, chief executive of 'Which?' comments on the Independent Commission on Banking's final report:

"Consumers can't afford to bail out the banks again and they don't trust bankers to change their behaviour, so Which? agrees with the Independent Commission's call for strong action by the government."

On the timetable for reform:

"The welcome changes proposed by the ICB won't happen overnight, but to give people confidence that lessons have been learned from the financial crisis, the government must set out a clear and urgent timetable for reform. The chancellor should respond to the ICB at the time of his Autumn Statement and use the Financial Services Bill, currently being debated by parliament, as the vehicle for the legislation that is required."

On the proposed ring-fence:

"Seven in ten people tell 'Which?' that they back the ring-fencing of essential consumer banking from high risk investments. A clear, high and strong ring-fence will allow failing banks to go bust without taking our deposits and the rest of the economy with them."

On competition and switching:

"The government must move fast to tackle the lack of competition in our banking system. We need a dramatically improved switching process, a regulator which acts to promote competition and a market where banks genuinely have to compete for their customers by offering good value products and better service. The government must be clear how it will create more competition when it sells our stakes in Lloyds, RBS and Northern Rock. It should not hesitate to refer the industry to the Competition Commission if the market does not improve or if Lloyds won't agree to enhance its divestment."

On the costs of reform:

"More banks competing for market share is the best way to make banks work harder for their customers and prevent them from simply passing on the cost of cleaning up their act to hard-pressed people and small businesses. Consumers are thoroughly sick of being asked to foot the bill for banking reform – it is the investment banks that have caused the crisis who should pay to put things right."

On the culture of banking:

"Reforms must bring about a new culture of banking that prevents the mis-selling of financial products and stops excessive risk-taking based on the assumption that tax-payers will bail banks out. That's why Which? supports a bigger role for non-executive directors. 'Which?' has also long argued for an end to sales commission for front-line bank staff; a code of ethics by which bankers have to behave, and training in it; and a professional standards committee to investigate and act on bad behaviour. There is absolutely no reason for the government to go slow with these measures."


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