Consumers have been promised fairness when the Financial Services Authority takes over all retail banking conduct regulation for deposits and payments in November. The body will take over from the Banking Code Standards Board (BCSB), which currently monitors banks' relationships with their customers. Consumers can expect a prompt and efficient service when switching accounts under new rules that all banks, building societies and credit unions will have to follow. Lenders will also be forced to provide information to potential customers when they are deciding which bank to join. Previously, some material had been held back until a bank had secured custom: individuals will now be in a better position to make informed decisions about the best accounts available to them and where to keep their money. One of the more frequent complaints from long term customers is that they are not treated as well as new clients. This will change under new FSA regulations, which will insist that service must remain prompt, efficient and fair for the duration of a relationship. Firms will also be obliged to act in a fair manner with people in financial difficulties - welcome news in today's challenging climate. The FSA has said it can, and will, fine firms that fail to comply with the new rules to the detriment of their customers. "These are important new standards that firms will need to meet," said Jon Pain, managing director of the FSA. "They will affect consumers' everyday interaction with banks." The FSA will publish full details of what customers can expect from their providers in due course.
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