LONDON – A new UK banking code and business banking code have been released by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the Building Societies Association, and UK payments association Apacs. The voluntary Code was developed with the use of an independent review and in consultation with the UK Treasury, the Office of Fair Trading, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and consumer groups.
The FSA’s Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) initiative is a major focus and is at the core of the new Banking Code. The codes came into force on March 31 2008 – coinciding with the FSA deadline for firms to implement appropriate management information or other measures to test whether they are treating customers fairly.
Among the points not covered by the previous banking code are new commitments to responsible lending – including strengthened credit assessments and pre-sale summary boxes of the details of unsecured loans and savings accounts.
Banks will also no longer be able to freeze or close accounts of users who have made open complaints about unfair treatment over issues such as bank charges, and will have to enable more transparency over cheque clearance times and credit cards.