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Level the insurance playing field now

Although the recent Queen’s Speech promised measures to transform the banking sector’s voluntary code of practice into a legally binding one, the government still seems powerless to control banks’ worst excesses despite its stakes in several of the biggest players.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown could learn from France’s PM Francois Fillon, who has warned that he is ready to nationalise any French bank that continues to put its own interests ahead of those of its customers.

Reports that our government intends to crack down on banks that treat customers unfairly may sound impressive but the truth is that many are still getting away with murder.

Even the penalty of 10m – subsequently reduced to 7m – that the Financial Services Authority imposed on Alliance & Leicester for pressuring customers to take out payment protection insurance was more a slap on the wrist than a telling punishment.

On the other hand, brokers and smaller sellers have been weighed down with extra layers of administration, regulation and cost as a result of the Treating Customers Fairly initiative, which has been unwelcome despite its laudable intentions.

Now that public money is being used to bail out big and once seemingly impregnable institutions, the least we are entitled to is a level playing field for sellers of insurance products.

As has been said many times before, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

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There’s no doubt about it, 2008 has been the mortgage industry’s annus horribilis. No amount of Christmas lights or tinsel can disguise the fact that the past 12 months have been the cruellest the sector has seen for decades. Businesses that seemed bullet- proof have been shot down, industry stalwarts deemed untouchable found themselves unemployed and the broker sector, only two years ago seen as the foundation of the industry, has been shaken to the core.

Good news or bad news – the choice is yours

Bank of Scotland is tomorrow adding to its large loan range with the launch of a 3 year fixed rate up to 60% LTV at 5.29% with a 0.25% fee with a maximum loan size of £10m.

Leeds appoints non-executive directors

Leeds has appointed Ian Robertson and Bob Stott as non-executive directors of the society with immediate effect. Robertson and Stott join the board, which currently consists of three executive directors and six non-executive directors under the leadership of chairman, Robin Smith.Robertson, who is a qualified accountant, is currently a member of the audit advisory board […]

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