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Did anyone watch Panorama last week? It was about bank charges and as well as highlighting Halifax’s 3650% pa overdraft fee it also covered the £2.6bn the banks make on penalty charges every year. It made some good TV but also some tough points about PPI claims and the shocking profit that the banks are making on interest rates.
Spealing to the Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, presenter Adam Shaw asked why the UK banking industry was so unfair, Mr Cable responded with an appreciation for the bank’s uncompetitve attitude, saying: “When we talk about restructuring the industry, we mean a more competitive system where consumers are not ripped off.”
The show also touched on emerging alterntives to the traditional banking houses, we’ve already spoken on the blog about Tesco and Virgin but the programme introduced us to Metro Bank, the first new high street bank for over 100 years. Metro’s approach is one that could prove very popular, putting aside jargan and zero competition and embracing customer service. This fresh approach goes as far as calling their branches ‘stores’, opening at 8am, having glass-less counters, offering lollypops and even providing dog biscuits. With a current system that seems to be failing and with lending down by 10% over last year to 3.2bn, the lowest level in a decade, a new bank with new ideas could go a long way.