Tories eye instant bank account switch
Banks could be forced by a future Conservative government to allow customers to switch current accounts immediately if a regulator’s analysis shows this is worthwhile, says Andrea Leadsom, the City minister. Most banks oppose such a plan, saying it would cost the industry up to £10bn to update computer systems to accommodate the change. Much will depend on the outcome of a cost-benefit analysis of full account portability by a new payments regulator. Ms Leadsom hopes the report will be available before next year’s election. She believes immediate account switching could be a “game changer” in bringing more competition into banking.
Santander in peer-to-peer pact
Santander is to become the first high-street bank to refer its customers to an online peer-to-peer lender, in a sign that alternative finance providers are achieving mainstream acceptance. Its partnership with Funding Circle, a peer-to-peer lending website that specialises in corporate loans, follows months of negotiations.
Passport backlog hits half a million
The backlog of UK passport applications waiting to be processed has reached nearly half a million, having risen by 200,000 in just three months, MPs have been told. Paul Pugh, chief executive of the Passport Office, said he was unsure what had caused the sharp increase.
Clegg may switch stance on EU vote
Nick Clegg is considering matching David Cameron’s offer to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, in a dramatic move that would leave Labour exposed.
Complaints soar as Big Six refuse to cut energy prices
The number of customer complaints against the “Big Six” energy companies have jumped to a record 1.7m in the first three months of the year.
The figure, from consumer group Which?, is the highest since October 2012 when energy firms began compiling statistics on complaints.
The Daily Telegraph
Shipping firms face £300m fuel bill
Shipping firms face paying £300m more for fuel next year because they have not been given enough time to comply with new European Union regulations on sulphur emissions, industry leaders warn today.
Businessman jailed for faking death
A businessman who faked his own death so he and his wife could claim more than a million pounds in life insurance has been jailed for two and a half years. Sanjay Kumar and his wife Anju, from Watford, devised a plan to cash in by pretending he had died while on a business trip to India in November 2011.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Citigroup currencies chief quits bank
Citigroup is losing another top foreign-exchange banker, with Jeff Feig leaving the firm to join Fortress Investment Group. The departure of Feig, the bank's global head of foreign exchange, followed that of the firm’s most senior currencies banker, Anil Prasad, earlier this year.
Mass spying on UK residents online
The government said it could justify mass surveillance of UK residents' online searches and electronic communications over Internet services including Google, Facebook and Twitter, it was revealed yesterday.