Bank bosses face credit cards inquiry

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The heads of Britain's biggest banks will be grilled by a parliamentary committee over the next two weeks over why they have been slow in making requested changes to their credit card business.

The heads of Britain's biggest banks will be grilled by a parliamentary committee over the next two weeks over why they have been slow in making requested changes to their credit card business.

Eric Daniels, the chief executive of Lloyds TSB, and James Crosby, his counterpart at HBOS, will appear before the House of Commons' Treasury Committee on Tuesday. A week later, it will be the turn of John Varley, the chief executive of Barclays, Sir Fred Goodwin of Royal Bank of Scotland and Michael Geoghegan, the head of HSBC's UK business.

The committee took the bank bosses to task a year ago for overcharging, reckless lending and not providing enough clarity on rates for credit cards. They now want to know why the banks have not done enough to ensure credit card customers get a better deal.

At last year's hearing, Matt Barrett, the then chief executive of Barclays who later moved up to become chairman of Britain's third-largest bank, received the most flak after he revealed that he did not borrow on credit cards because it was too expensive. Mr Barrett was accused of "bare-faced cynicism" by Jim Cousins, a member of the Treasury Committee. Mr Barrett's comments came as a shock particularly as Barclays owns Barclaycard, the UK market leader and sponsor of the football Premiership. Last year, the group of MPs also attacked the aggressive way in which banks had mailed customers to try to get them to take up credit card offers.

One of the issues likely to be debated at this year's hearings will be the "summary box" in promotions that lists charges and key conditions for credit cards, which the banks have agreed to provide. The parliamentarians also want banks to use a single method to calculate annual percentage rates to make it easier for customers to compare products.

Comments