Finance: New rules for banks and lenders

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The Independent Online
Two new codes of practice for banks and mortgage lenders, aimed at giving the public a better deal, came into force yesterday. The voluntary codes give customers new rights, set out minimum standards and make clear the responsibilities that banks, building societies and mortgage lenders have to their customers.

All the major banks and societies have signed up to the new codes, and copies of the rules are available at branches.

Both codes feature a list of general "commitments" and a number of specific promises relating to issues such as what happens when people get into financial difficulty, as well as interest rates, mortgage advice, dealing with complaints and confidentiality.

The new Banking Code includes several amendments to the old code, while the Mortgage Code lays down a "benchmark" set of minimum standards which lenders will follow, and also introduces a new framework for the selling of mortgages.

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