James Moore: Who’s to blame for the banking ills that trip us?


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The Independent Online

That’s not to say Europe doesn’t deserve a kicking every now and again. A reader, who is an osteopath, tells me of a problem that I fear is all too common among those affected by the forced sale of branches by Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland.

He is a Lloyds customer but the branch he uses to pay in the cheques and cash his customers give for his service is not the one that holds his account. It is in another town where he holds a surgery once a week.

He uses it because the branch that does hold his account isn’t at all convenient for him. Unfortunately, the arrangement is going to come to an end because his paying-in branch is one of the 600-plus Lloyds has jettisoned, the price demanded by the EU for its accepting £20bn of state aid.

So he’ll either have to change account, overdraft facility and relationships to the new bank (assuming it will offer comparable facilities) or he’ll have to cancel appointments to pay his money in at his “home” branch.

This sort of story is probably not all that unusual. And it is not just businesses that take a lot of cash and cheques who will be affected. Think pensioners and disabled people for starters.

But is it really the fault of Europe? Or is it, in fact, the fault of a banking system that is still failing to work in the interest of its consumers despite the huge amount of their taxes that have been paid out to keep the show on the road?