High time that more banks paid for their mistakes

I Once had a job where I was fined for turning up late in the mornings. Elsewhere in the less-than-perfect financial world the Co-operative Bank automatically pays pounds 10 compensation to current account holders if, for example, it should make any mistake on statements or direct debits. I was cured of my lateness (until I left the job), and I bet the Co-op is working overtime to reduce the 600 times a month it is paying out.

But overall mistakes by banks have increased again after a previous improvement, according to the Consumers' Association (see page 22). Even if the banks are putting things right quicker, this is still a serious indictment of organisations that never seem to tire of telling us how they are improving customer service.

If the banks want us to believe they are turning the corner, automatic compensation payments should be the norm, not unusual. Midland, for example, also offers pounds 10 payouts if it screws up, but only when accounts are first opened or transferred.

I look forward to hearing of more moves for existing customers.

THE stock market hit a record high this week. Expect headlines warning of an impending crash and, in less respectable quarters, talk of how you really must pile in now to avoid missing out on such wonderful gains.

But whether you are presently in or out, the best advice is probably pretty much the same - sit tight where you are.

Yes, there might be a stockmarket crash or - in the quaint jargon suspiciously adopted by the City sometimes - a correction. But the downside for the stock market as a whole is probably little more than 10 per cent. Set against the gains accumulated by many who are already in, this might not appear too disastrous. And five years on it may not seem too important when you are up, say, another 40 per cent or so.

Underlying

this advice to not panic are the costs and troubles of trying to second- guess the stock market. Yes, if you wanted your money out to spend, run for the door. But if you're in the market because in the long run you think it's the best home for your savings - and by and large it probably is - then don't be in such a hurry. It could easily cost 5 per cent of the value of your investment to sell up and then reinvest at a later date.

Equally, however, if your life's savings are in the building society now is not the right time to be throwing everything into the stock market when it is so perilously high. Either drip feed a regular monthly amount into the market - many PEPs and unit trusts have this facility - or wait awhile.

Your Money has 10 free copies to give away of Which? Way to Beat the System, a new book from the Consumers' Association. The book is aimed at steering people through the bureaucracies that govern our lives, including the financial system. The book costs pounds 9.99 from bookshops. But it's free to the 10 most interesting notes from readers telling me how they've beaten the financial system. Write as succinctly as possible to: Beating the System, Steve Lodge, Personal Financial Editor, Independent on Sunday, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Sport
Robin van Persie scores the third for Manchester United with a perfectly-guided header
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all