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Holyrood report is 'latest in a welcome trend against unfairness in the banking sector'

19 Mar 2010

Citizens Advice Scotland have welcomed the report issued today by the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism committee, aimed at re-structuring the banking and financial services industry.

CAS Head of Social Policy, Susan McPhee said,

“Our concern is for the low income and vulnerable customers of the banks, as much as for the wider economy. Those who suffered most in the credit crunch were, in many ways, those who were least able to cope with it. In that sense we welcome the report’s emphasis on stamping out ‘aggressive’ tactics in the industry, and ‘returning to Scottish principles of financial rectitude’.

“In terms of the report’s specific call for more competition in the banking sector, we agree there is a need for more choice, but we say that must mean choice in the types of service, not just more banks. For example, we’d like to see a wider range of lending options; more low interest accounts – like those offered by Credit Unions and the Post Office network.

“But in a wider sense, this report is welcome because it is the latest development in a very welcome trend that seems to be aimed at curbing the worst excesses of the banking and lending industry. We have been campaigning to promote this kind of agenda for years. It does appear that there is now real political momentum behind it.

 “Earlier this month the House of Commons Scottish Affairs committee issued a stern report on how banks needed to be fairer in their treatment of their customers. Then last week the UK government announced new controls on credit card companies. Now with this report the Scottish Parliament too is adding weight to the trend.

“The low and middle-income people who form the basis of our society have suffered for too long while banks and other lenders have imposed unfair and irresponsible policies. We’ve seen the results of this all too often in CABs across Scotland – most notably in growing debt, with all the associated problems that come with that. If there is a mood among our political leaders to change this and promote a fairer banking culture, we welcome that. We must now make sure their good intentions become actions, and their actions become law.”

For more information please call Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010.

The Scottish Parliament committee’s report is available at: http:/www.scottish.parliament.uk/nmCentre/news/news-comm-10/ceet10-s3-002.htm

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