Barclays has breached good banking practice standards after it had not complied with legally binding rules put in place to make it easier for businesses to shop around and choose the best accounts for them.
The Competition Markets Authority (CMA) has ordered Barclays to improve systems, practices and compliance with the same.
Barclays along with other banks where ordered in 2002 to stop insisting that businesses can only operate a current account before being able to access their other products. Barclays also prevented Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with business Premium Accounts transferring monies to and from non-Barclays accounts.
The CMA has ordered Barclays to put operating standards immediately in place to prevent this happening again.
Senior Director Adam Land from CMA commented: “Banks must not force small businesses to have current accounts with them and stop them from choosing the best products available resulting in unnecessary costs. Barclays must take the necessary steps to prevent this happening again and correct any problems.”
Small businesses should be aware that they do not need to open a current account to use Barclays loan and deposit accounts. Barclays has also been told by the CMA to write to all affected customers and explain that to use their other services customers do not need to open a current account. The CMA has appointed an independent body to audit Barclays compliance with the undertakings and provide the independent body’s report to them.
Yet again, large financial services groups not taking action promptly to the detriment not just of the customer but the financial services industry’s reputation. That said, these undertakings have been in place for 17 years now. “Fine! Fine! Fine!”: in a monetary sense that is, not the weather outlook for this week, that’s what we say.