Call to prosecute bank law-breaking

Western Telegraph: Bank customers back tough penalties for financiers who break the law, a poll found Bank customers back tough penalties for financiers who break the law, a poll found

Four out of five people want individuals to be prosecuted when banks break the law, according to a new survey.

Research by consumer watchdog Which? also showed that two-thirds of people believe the Government will not act in their best interests when implementing banking reform, while only one in five think the Financial Services Authority is effective in regulating UK banks.

Which? is calling on the Government to ensure criminal prosecutions can be brought against individuals - up to boardroom level - who have presided over corrupt practices.

The organisation also wants the process of ring-fencing retail banking from investment banking to be fast-tracked.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: "Consumers are clearly fed up with one banking scandal after another.

"Banks and bankers will continue to be seen as untouchable unless individuals are held to account for their actions and the culture of banking is changed for good.

"The fines handed down to banks are not a deterrent. Last week Barclays was fined less than £60 million in the UK, compared to £231 million in the US, and has paid out £2 billion in compensation and settlements in the last three years, but that seems to have little effect.

"The Government needs to change the rules so that criminal prosecutions can be brought against individuals if banks have flouted the rules. We also want the banking sector referred to the Competition Commission immediately. More competition is essential to force a change in the culture of British banking."

The survey was conducted by YouGov and involved 1,035 adults.

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