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OFT wins first step in overdraft fee test case

The Office of Fair Trading has won the first step in its landmark test case against banks over unfair overdraft fees.

In a High Court ruling today a judge stated that the controversial charges by banks on overdrafts are now subject to consumer regulations.

This means the OFT is entitled to examine in detail whether the fees are fair under regulations governing consumer contracts.

The ruling is a vital step in a potentially lengthy legal battle sparked by tens of thousands of complaints about overdraft and so-called unpaid item fees, which have set as high as £39 per transaction.

The OFT is pursuing the test case against eight high street lenders to determine whether it can force banks to lower their charges, which are levied when a customer bounces a cheque or exceeds their overdraft limit.

Mr Justice Andrew Smith noted that his ruling did not mean that the charges would “necessarily’’ be regarded as unfair, or that they are not binding on consumers.


Darling and Flint to meet lenders

Chancellor Alistair Darling and housing minister Caroline Flint are thought to be meeting lenders today to address the issue of struggling borrowers.

Connells hits out at BoE plan

Connells Survey & Valuation has warned that the Bank of England’s £50bn cash injection will have little impact on the high street.

Stock Picker

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Europe: banking on a recovery

Neptune video: Europe — banking on a recovery

Arguing that the eurozone crisis is over, watch Rob Burnett, head of European equities at Neptune, discuss the sectors that he’s investing in to harness the recovery. 

In the video, Burnett addresses the following: 

• The primary drivers of the eurozone’s economic recovery
• The turnaround in individual countries’ current accounts
• Sectors best positioned to harness the recovery, without offering undue exposure to risk


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