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MPs probe banks’ treatment of vulnerable customers

MPs on the Treasury select committee are launching an enquiry into whether banks and other financial services firms treat vulnerable customers fairly.

Financial exclusion and whether vulnerable clients could be charged too much for insurance are high up the MPs’ agenda.

The committee will also assess the possibility of adopting a legal duty of care to customers, how bank branch closures are hitting different types of consumers, and how “vulnerability” should be defined in the first place.

The work comes on the back of a drive by the FCA to stop vulnerable customers being left worse off by the payday lending and rent-to-own industries.

Treasury committee chair Nicky Morgan says: “With customers expected to take more responsibility for their financial planning and resilience, bank branches closing, and the number of free-to-use ATMs falling, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for vulnerable customers to access certain financial services.”

AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby says: “While the Treasury committee’s terms of reference mostly focus on banking and the disappearance of high-street branches, the wider sector – including advisers and pension providers – also have a huge role to play…Companies across financial services need to build understanding of vulnerability into their respective cultures, sharing best practice and continually reviewing and improving the processes put in place to protect customers.”

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