The Treasury Committee published its Consumers’ Access to Financial Services report on 13 May 2019. Its recommendations included:
- Firms should be required to always act in customers’ best interests – a legal duty of care may be necessary
- EHRC needs better resources to enforce Equality Act
- Enforcement of banks’ compliance with Equality Act should be transferred to FCA
- Firms should be required to publish loyalty penalty
- Bank branches and free-to-use ATMs should be preserved
- Post Office must stop subsidising big six banks’ lack of branches
- Banks must fund shared hubs to prevent loss of ‘last bank in town’
- Voluntary spending blocks should be explored
The Committee has today published the Government’s response to the report. Commenting on the response, Rt Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, said:
“The Government’s support of the FCA and the EHRC working together to properly protect consumers’ rights under the Equality Act is welcome.
“The Government’s commitment to undertake a review of the wording of payment request letters – to ensure that they are clear and understandable for an individual with a low level of literacy – is timely and necessary.
“The Post Office provides basic banking services to the customers of many high street banks at a loss. The Committee is supportive, therefore, that from next year the fees charged to banks to provide such services will increase.
“It’s disappointing, however, that the Government refuses to ensure that small towns and rural areas aren’t left without high street banking services.
“The Post Office is not able to provide some key banking services, such as direct debits, even though commercial banks promised customers that they could use Post Offices when they shut down branches.
“The Government would not be intervening in the commercial decisions of banks by requiring them to fund fully functioning banking hubs in post offices; it would be holding them to their own promises.”