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Bank call centres poorly prepared ahead of autumn tax deadline

Call centre staff at half of the UK&#39s leading banks and building societies will struggle to help many callers gathering last-minute tax return information ahead of the Inland Revenue&#39s September 30 deadline, claims a survey conducted on behalf of Macro 4 PLC.

&#39Secret shopper&#39 researchers, posing as potential customers, found that call centre staff typically have inadequate on-screen access to customers&#39 bank statements, making it difficult to provide timely answers to common statement queries. Consequently, customers are often left with little option but to order duplicate statements, for which one can expect to pay up to £5 per sheet of paper (or £20 for a typical 4-page statement) and can take up to three weeks to arrive.

The survey also found that when duplicate statements are ordered, these can take up to two weeks (10 working days) to arrive – which may be too late for many people rushing to meet the self-assessment cut-off date at the end of September. Among other worrying findings, half the call centres surveyed said they could not see statements in the same format as that seen by customers – further hindering their ability to answer customer queries – and two of the top banks admitted to relying on old-fashioned microfiche technology to retrieve archived statements.

Macro 4 says most banks&#39 call centres could be significantly improved by introducing more efficient content management technology , and points to the fact that some of the banks surveyed are already using such technology to empower call centre staff. At Nationwide, for example, staff are able to instantly access exact on-screen copies of statements up to three years old and duplicate statements can also be provided free-of-charge within one to two working days.


Arsenal tie up deal with Bank of Scotland

Arsenal has teamed up with Bank of Scotland to launch the &#39Your Financial Arsenal&#39 range of financial services Your Financial Arsenal will also give supporters of the club the opportunity to show their affinity to Arsenal and gain from a range of exclusive benefits. Thousands of fans already carried Arsenal-branded credit card issued through Bank […]

FSA publishes latest consultation paper

The FSA published its long-awaited consultation paper on regulated mortgage sales last Monday. Sarah Wilson, director of the FSA&#39s high street firms division, says: “We want to make sure that consumers get clear comparable information on mortgages and that, where they get advice, they are recommending a suitable mortgage. We aim to introduce a regime […]

Charcol offers lifetime tracker with 6% cashback

Charcol is offering an exclusive lifetime tracker mortgage with a 6% cashback up to a maximum of £120,000. The tracker rate is 0.99% above bank base rate for the duration of the mortgage (current payrate 4.99%). The product also charges no redemption penalties beyond the first three years, as well as offering 6% cashback, which […]

FSA reveals the scope of mortgage regulation

The FSA proposals put forward in CP146 outline the scope of the new mortgage regime. A mortgage will be regulated if the borrower is an individual or trustee; the lender takes a first legal charge over property in the UK and the property is at least 40% occupied by the borrower or by a member […]

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England vs Australia: pensions

Well, the cricket season is here, and England and Australia are stepping up to the wicket. Although we compete with each other in the sporting world, when it comes to pensions, Australia’s pension programme is held up as a model for our auto-enrolment initiative. Auto-enrolment was introduced because people weren’t saving enough into their pensions, and it is still early days but signs are positive. However, in Australia, saving into a pension is compulsory, and in fact employers are the ones who have to pay in. Employees in Australia can make additional contributions into their pensions, but they don’t have to. Should the onus be on the employer or employee to save? Well in the UK we think it’s both, but to get ‘adequate’ savings for retirement it’s the employee who has to pay more in.


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