The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has told the UK’s largest banks to do more to improve returns for savers following months of criticism over the gulf between the cost of mortgages and rates offered on easy-access savings accounts.
In a statement after the meeting with senior executives from Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest and HSBC, the regulator said they had held a constructive meeting, which builds on work the regulator have been doing over several months – to monitor the savings markets and the decisions made. It says it has challenged firms where their decision making has been slow.
The FCA says that through preparation for the new consumer duty, which requires the firms to put consumer interests at their heart, it has started to see some positive action by banks and building societies to improve their rates, and to ensure their customers are benefiting from better value products. The FCA now wants to see that progress accelerate. Increasingly customers are witching their savings products to those with higher rates.
The FCA says that it wants to see a competitive market with fair value retail banking products – and with banks helping consumers to access them. The consumer duty will set a new standard for firms from the end of July, including on savings rates. Those in the room recognised that they needed to do more to help their consumers access the best rates.
David Postings, Chief Executive of UK Finance, said “UK Finance and a number of our members had a constructive meeting with the FCA where we discussed a range of issues in relation to savings.”
“The savings market is competitive, with a wide range of different accounts available to help people with their individual saving needs. We always encourage customers to shop around for the type of account that best suits them. ”
“We look forward to continuing to work with the regulator on this important topic.”