Bank changes affect millions

MILLIONS of retail banking customers will be affected by the sale of Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland assets, but it could be four years before the process is complete.<br /><br />Spokespeople for both RBS and Lloyds both stressed yesterday that it was &ldquo;business as usual&rdquo; until further notice, and that any disruption will be kept to a minimum.<br /><br />Customers of the parts of the banks which remain intact will feel no difference. But customers of the parts which are being divested &ndash; for example those with a Cheltenham &amp; Gloucester mortgage &ndash; will eventually see a change in their provider.<br /><br />&nbsp;&ldquo;When a sale is agreed, we will ensure that the transfer of customers is handled with sensitivity and care,&rdquo; said Lloyds.<br /><br />Savers will also be unaffected, at least in the short-term, with the government&rsquo;s Financial Services Compensation Scheme continuing to apply to savings of up to &pound;50,000 for each account in a separately licensed bank.<br /><br />Crucially, the aim of the banking shake-up is to ensure competition in the banking marketplace, giving customers a wider choice of banking products. The disposals by RBS and Lloyds will mean that around 10 per cent of the UK retail banking market can now be snatched by smaller players and new entrants.<br /><br />Both Virgin Money and Tesco have suggested that they are interested in bidding for branches.