Julian Knight: Halifax's £500m payout is too late for some
Sunday 27 February 2011
What with the Arab spring and the earthquake in Christchurch you'd be forgiven for having missed the fact that Halifax is to pay out the biggest ever sum in consumer compensation in UK corporate history.
Up to 300,000 mortgage customers can expect to share £500m because the Halifax failed to inform borrowers that it was increasing the cap on its standard variable rate mortgage. Halifax's move is being spun as somehow proactive, an example of a regulator engaging with a wrongdoer and coming to an agreement that is good for customers.
On the flip side, though, it could be seen as a bank which has been caught bang to rights and was systematically draining money from its customers for three years. The dates are significant in this too: the "mistake" carried on between 2004 and 2007 when the Halifax was also busy writing such atrociously bad mortgage business that it needed rescuing by Lloyds and then the taxpayer. It's only now with Halifax substantially under state control that it finally agrees to pay the price for to its misdemeanour. There is no doubt that there are families out there who would now still be in their homes and wouldn't have been repossessed if the Halifax had from the start played fair over it rates.
The big four banks have agreed with the Office of Fair Trading to review the gross charges they levy for acting as an executor on an estate. As this paper revealed more than a year ago, these charges can swallow up to 5 per cent of a dead person's estate for very little in return. What's more, when asked to step aside as executor – so to minimise cost – by the relatives of the deceased, banks have fought tooth and nail to keep their fees. For too long banks have been overcharging at this most sensitive of times and it's great news that finally this practice is coming into focus.
Left out in the cold
Not too long ago I had to look for a rental flat for a friend of mine. Nothing prepared me for the lack of professionalism of some agents and dishonesty of some landlords. References were charged for but not taken and on more than one occasion the landlord withdrew at the last minute. The attitude to renters is like it or lump it.
Now the soon to be defunct Consumer Focus has said that there needs to be a little redressing of the balance. Its idea is for a ratings website where tenants can let other people know how good a landlord or letting agent is. If landlords can take references regarding tenants; surely tenants should be able to do the same. This so-called "reputational regulation" works so well in other areas such as holidays so why not with renting? The only thing wrong with this proposal is that it wants the rental industry to set all this up. This looks like a prime business idea for an entrepreneur.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
NatWest is taking a stand against payday loan brokers
How to cut the cost of car insurance: A five-step guide to getting a better deal
Bargain Hunter: You don't have to burn too much cash on fireworks night with Aldi
Families pay the price of superfast broadband
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Paul Hollywood: Police asked if I wanted them to arrest Mary Berry for vandalism after she 'defaced' my car
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Pope Francis: 'Caring for the poor does not make you a communist'
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...
£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...
Day In a Page
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000