The banking industry comes under the spotlight this week in the mid-week money sections, with the publication of the Future of Banking Commission report providing a focus for all things bank-related.
Esther Shaw at the Express, on the back of the Report as well as the imminent arrival of shiny new entrants to the banking sector such as Virgin Money, Tesco and Metro Bank, looks at how you can get the best from your banking experience. Her advice? Shop around for the current account, credit card and savings deals that best suit you – as well as customer service with a smile (Metro Bank’s particular USP). All in all, Shaw sees the banking sector shake-up as good news for consumers who stand to benefit from increased competition and wider choice.
It’s not all champagne and roses on the banking front however (hard to believe eh?) as the Daily Mail and Which? expose the murky practices of banks’ will-writing and probate services. The special investigation saw undercover researchers reveal that banks charge on average around double the rate of will-writers and solicitors for sorting out an estate.
Pension worries among the ‘baby boomers’ also emerged as a theme this week, with Kara Gammell in the Telegraph flagging research by Scottish Widows which shows that more than half of those born in the post-war years are fearful about their financial future as pensioners. Meanwhile Holly Thomas at The Express points out that investors have started putting any spare cash into pensions over fears that tax-related benefits will be scrapped in the Budget.
Speaking of the impending Budget, the Mirror’s Tricia Phillips this week led the money section with an open letter to George Osborne asking him not to make life tougher for hard-up families. Watch this space for what is sure to be a Budget-special round-up next week…
On the home front (pardon the pun), the bad news is that mortgage lending to first-time buyers has slumped to a two-and-a-half year low in April according to CML figures reported in the Mirror. The good news is that Barclays and Bovis Homes have teamed up to offer cheaper mortgage deals to first-timers, as reported by James Coney in today’s Daily Mail. The piece warns these deals are still slim on the ground but is hopeful more providers will follow suit.
On a parting note, Ruki Sayid at the Mirror has also today informed us that sales of fajitas and other Mexican food have soared since Mexico played in the World Cup opener. Arriba! (The fact that Mexico just happens to be one of my allocated teams in the office sweepstake doesn’t influence my support in the slightest, ahem.)
Scores on the board this week are: