April 24 2014 Latest news:


Adam Aiken

ICB report spells good news for consumers

At last, there could be some good news for bank customers.

The big lines that emerged from the Independent Commission on Banking’s report concerned the ringfencing of the banks’ retail operations, and the call for extra funds they would need to hold as a buffer in case of a future financial crisis.

But there were also a number of other ideas put forward that should help improve our overall high-street banking experience.

One of these is the ICB’s desire to open up the market to greater competition.

The likes of NBNK have been looking to get a piece of the action for some time, and the commission’s report has confirmed its view that Lloyds Banking Group should sell more of more of its branches than the 632 it is already planning to dispose of.

The ICB wants a new player on the high street to have a market share of at least 6pc of the current-account market, taking the number of major retail banks to six.

On the face of it, having six major players instead of five might not seem like a huge leap forward...

Robert Clarke

Vague estimates suit no-one

It seems that, ever since those bygone days of the eighties when we experienced our first, prolonged and widespread property boom, estate agents have been on the receiving end of a bad press.

Caricatures of the day separated agents into two groups: the well, spoken, nice-but-dim type, ideally suited to selling your country pad or pied-a-terre just off the Kings Road, but a tad less effective moving out a Barratt home located on the outskirts of Hartlepool...