Last Updated: Monday, February 25, 2002 02:20 PM

The following is directed at building society members from the Building Societies Members Association but applies to bank customers too.

The Banking Code is a voluntary code of self-regulation for basic good behaviour that banks and building societies are supposed to adhere to, but very many do not.  The code is produced by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) in conjunction with the Building Societies Association (BSA). 

Usually banks and building societies do not appreciate receiving complaints or comments on improving their services.  However, an independent Reviewer has been appointed by the BBA to receive your comments and she is inviting people to write to her.  So now is your chance. 

If you:

were not aware that the code also referred to building societies or

were not aware that the code review process was taking place (it started January 1st) or

have experienced poor service or

have experienced malpractice or

have not seen the code on display in branch offices or

believe that the code is inadequate or

believe that the code is being abused or

do not believe the code where it says “We will act fairly and reasonably in all our dealings with you” (key commitment 1).

Then now is the time to write - you have until 28th March.

The address to write to is:

Prof. Elaine Kempson
c/o British Bankers’ Association
Pinners Hall
105-108 Old Broad Street
Tel: 0117-928-8634
E-mail: codereview@bba.org.uk

 What is wrong with the present code?

·        Many building society members are unaware that it affects them, there is nothing on the cover to say it also refers to building societies and the BSA is not rushing to change that.  Ideally there should be a dedicated code.

·        In many branches copies are literally kept under lock and key.  We believe they should be on display alongside product literature.

·        Reference to the code is often buried in the small print in product literature.

·        It has not stopped the creation of “superceded” accounts which are then downgraded.

·        It has not made societies conform to rulings made by the Ombudsman.

·        It allows up to one month delay in notifying members when savings interest rates are reduced.  We believe it should be two weeks maximum.

·        It allows savings rates on notice accounts to be changed adversely out of line with base rate movements without allowing members immediate access to their funds. 

If you agree with us that the code is unfair please make an effort and make your views known.  The code is now under review and the opportunity will not arise again for another two years. 

Please see www.building-societies-members.org.uk for further information.