Ben Chu: Banking - free to those who can afford it

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The Independent Online

Outlook To be labelled "disingenuous" by the British Bankers' Association – the lobby group that oversees Libor – is like to being accused of child cruelty by King Herod.

So congratulations to Which? the consumer group, that drew this rebuke from the BBA for its report labelling the notion that we have free banking in Britain a "myth".

As Which? pointed out, the idea of "free banking" ignores penalty charging and the fact most current accounts pay virtually no interest.

The report is also pertinent because the new Barclays chairman, Sir David Walker, recently suggested that if banks had been able to charge for current accounts they would not have needed to miss-sell dodgy interest-rate products to customers. That sounds like a criminal who claims that if only you'd let him rob your house, he wouldn't have needed to steal your car.

Perhaps the saddest comment of all on the state of modern banking is that Sir David is considered one of the industry's good guys.