UK Finance represents nearly 300 of the leading firms providing finance, banking, markets and payments-related services in or from the UK. UK Finance has been created by combining most of the activities of the Asset Based Finance Association, the British Bankers’ Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association.
In its press release, UK Finance confirmed that the Standard, which will now be supervised by the independent Lending Standards Board (LSB), builds on recommendations proposed by Professor Russel Griggs in his independent review of the Access to Banking protocol last year, and aims to help minimise the impact of bank branch closures on customers and local communities. The LSB will oversee the operation of the Standard, and ensure that the 12 banks and building societies which have signed up to the Standard fulfil their requirements, and that the intended outcomes for customers are reached. The LSB will therefore independently monitor and report on its application by those banks and buildings societies, as well as identifying and sharing best practice.
The industry-wide agreement, which has the support of Government, the regulator, and the main high street banks, will see customers affected by closures receive improved notification of potential branch closures; greater clarity on the reasons for the closure, as well as banks providing more direct and proactive help for those seeking to access banking via other means in the run up to the closure.
David Pickering, Chief Executive of the Lending Standards Board, said: “For voluntary standards to be credible they need to be independently monitored and enforced. The LSB is, therefore, pleased to have been selected to oversee the new Access to Banking Standard. Our approach will be to ensure firms are delivering the intended customer outcomes through the application of the new Standard.”
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