/ Money

Voice your views on banking reform

Group of young people shouting

The voice of consumers in banking reform isn’t always as loud as it could be – maybe because the invite to join in isn’t clear or the discussions get a bit techy? We’re notching up the volume so you can tell us here.

Following the success of the Big Banking debate in February last year, we’ll be hosting a joint event with the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) ‘Which? – Your Voice for Better Banking’.

It’ll take place on the evening of Thursday 24 May at a London location.

The event will be an opportunity to have your say on some of the key issues raised in the ICB’s interim report – which include ring fencing retail banks, improving transparency and helping consumers switch accounts.

How does this affect you?

If you’re wondering how issues like this affect your day-to-day banking it’s worth noting that they really do.

Have you been fed up with your current account’s interest rate and overdraft fees, but haven’t bothered switching accounts because of the hassle of changing all those pesky direct debits?

Well, a recommendation in the report calls for portable bank account numbers. A potential benefit of this is the ability to take your bank account number with you, reducing the hassle for customers.

Big banks squeezing out the little ones

And competition is all about making sure the big players don’t have it all their own way. If you used to like getting veg from your local grocer but have found they’ve been pushed out by big brand supermarkets then it’s the equivalent for the banks. The financial crisis has resulted in reduced competition – the big banks have got bigger and the small ones have been forced out.

With the five big banks dominating the market it’s hard for others to thrive and so the range of incentives and benefits can be limited as there can be less difference between the bunch.

Would you feel your money was safer if banks separated their retail business (dealing with you and me) from their investment businesses (big businesses, stocks and shares)? At least this way, we wouldn’t feel banks were gambling so much with our hard-earned cash?

Whatever your view, we’d like you to tell us what you think. We appreciate we can’t squeeze everyone into one space – but we’ve certainly room to squeeze in as many opinions as possible by collecting them here and sharing them with the ICB.

Comments
Member

I no longer trust Banks – Any Bank –

What we should have is a real National Bank – A social bank – run for the benefit of the customer only.- any profit shared by the customers and the bank workers equally. So say a profit of £1million is shared 50% to customers – 50% to Bank workers. There would be far fewer bank workers so this would be the incentive to make profit for all.

It is obvious that the last two major recessions were due to the endless obsession of Private Banks to maximising profits for themselves and their shareholders. The customer is never considered.

The customer is never right – totally different from the usual businesses where the customer is supposed to be always right.

Member

Too big to fail and too big to regulate. The tax payers’ nightmare risk.

Member
Alan says:
13 April 2011

Make the top bosses legally responsible with jail terms and loss of all possesions for a repeat. They have no responsibility fears just job loss with a fat pay off. Maybe 20 years in shared showers will make them think next time.

Member
Sophie Gilbert says:
14 April 2011

Separating the retail business from the investment business is one of the key things, and another is what Alan suggests, huge personal punishment for utter recklessness.

Member
pickle says:
14 April 2011

It’s a commercial world – every business is out to make a profit – as it should do otherwise it would become bankrupt. If it is owned by an individual then profit is their livelihood. If it is owned by a group of people who have put money into the business then profit goes to them.
The “bank problem” arises when one half of a business prospers far more than the other half – mainly due to risk taking being very successful. The managers (read bankers) of that half voted themselves a big share of the profits – without consulting those who invested money into the business….hoping they would get away with it. and they did!
In my view the risky part of the bank should be separated from the ‘normal’ high street bank and each treated as a separate firm. The risky part of the bank might not be so successful another time and could drag down the high street part of the bank.

Member

maybe we should all take a moral judgement and put all of our money into mutuals?

Why are you with your high street bank? I have no idea why I am still with mine, I already have an account with a mutual and so may be changing altogether very soon.

If people had so many issues with shareholders and risk taking, put your money where your mouth is and move to a mutual. Is there any service you can get from a high street bank that you can’t from a mutual?

Member

That’s a really interesting point Dean. You’re right, if we move away from bad service and bad rates then in time, the good guys should storm ahead.

But I have to hold my hands up and say I’ve contemplated a switch and then not followed it through. I think the proposal for portable bank account numbers should help. When I do decide to move, I think I’ll choose from one of from the Which? top ten alternatives to high street banks http://www.which.co.uk/news/2011/04/10-alternatives-to-big-high-street-banks-24956

Member

Whatever happens with the banking reforms will mean more costs worse service than we have now . It seems ok for politicians to say that these reforms will be better long term but i think its yet again a talking exercise to cover up banking incompetence and individual greed. Banks in this country can do exactly what they want and charge what they want . the banks caused the last recession and forced a government bailout yet they have been allowed to pay outrageous bonuses while people lose there jobs . the banks need alot more regulation and taxation . The bank bosses must be laughing there heads off after whats happened and can stick 2 fingers upto their customers. Come on Cameron whats happened to your big society or are the banks exempt

Member