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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Four British banks to pay for scandal!

LONDON: Britain's four biggest banks have agreed to pay compensation to customers they misled about interest rate hedging products, following an investigation by Britain's financial regulator.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said yesterday it had reached an agreement with Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS to provide appropriate compensation following an investigation into the misselling of the products.

The FSA said it found evidence of “serious failings” by the banks and added: “We believe that this has resulted in a severe impact on a large number of these businesses.”

The finding by the FSA of misselling could lead to compensation claims ranging from many millions to several billion pounds from small companies which bought them.

It is the latest in a string of misselling cases that have plagued the financial services industry for over two decades. Banks are already set to pay upwards of £9bil (US$13.96bil) in compensation to customers for misselling loan insurance.

The news will compound problems for a sector that was hit hard on Thursday by news of a record US$450mil fine levied on Barclays for rigging interest rates.

The FSA said the banks had agreed to compensate directly those customers that brought the most complex products.

The products range in complexity from caps that fix an upper limit to the interest rate on a loan, through to complex derivatives known as “structured collars” which fixed interest rates with a bank but introduced a degree of interest rate speculation.

The banks have agreed to stop marketing “structured collars” to retail customers.

The size of the likely compensation was not disclosed but Lloyds issued a separate statement saying it did not expect the financial impact from the settlement to be material. - Reuters

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