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Home > Regulation > UK Regulation

Panel calls for bankers to be licensed by professional body

Consumer panel says professional body would give “credible deterrence” against unacceptable behaviour by bank workers.

By Donia O'Loughlin | Published Sep 27, 2012 | comments

The Financial Services Consumer Panel has called for bankers to be licensed by a professional body, following an unprecedented number of mis-selling scandals.

The panel condemned the culture of the UK banking industry and called for a mandatory and independent professional standards body for bankers.

The panel believes that unprecedented misselling scandals, unfair bank charges and poor complaints handling are symptoms of a deep-rooted cultural problems as well as a lack of competition in the banking system.

Earlier this year it emerged that banks have manipulated the London-interbank offered rate, with Barclays receiving a £290m fine from global regulators and currently being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office to see if criminal charges can be brought.

In June, the Financial Services Authority found a range of “poor sales practices” in the sale of interest rate hedging products to small and medium enterprises by four banks including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS.

The FSA has since expanded its investigation to include seven more banks: Allied Irish Bank UK, Bank of Ireland, Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks, Co-operative Bank, Northern Bank and Santander UK.

Mike Dailly who gave evidence for the Consumer Panel at yesterday’s Parliamentary hearing into Banking Standards, believes that bankers need to have the same high professional standards as doctors and solicitors.

According to Mr Dailly, bankers need to be licensed by a mandatory professional body so that there is credible deterrence for unacceptable behaviour and risk taking.

He said: “Bank behaviour resembles a Tale of Two Cities. Sales customers get a Rolls Royce service. But those making complaints are passed from pillar to post. It is no longer acceptable to treat customers so poorly and nothing short of a revolution in attitudes to customers and behaviour is required.

“For too long bankers have enjoyed great power without having to take responsibility for their actions. No other profession has been allowed such a stranglehold on the economy and peoples lives without a code of ethical standards. Banking should be a profession where individuals know that if they fail to observe the highest standards of professional conduct they will be struck off. ”

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