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Savings and Investment - The Banking Code


The Banking Code - Savings and Investment

About The Banking Code

The Banking Code is a voluntary code followed by banks and building societies in their relations with personal customers in the United Kingdom. It covers current accounts, personal loans, savings and credit cards. The Business Banking Code covers small businesses with a turnover of up to £1 million a year. Mortgages are regulated under the Mortgage Code by the Mortgage Code Compliance Board. Investments, pensions and life assurance are regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

The Banking Code sets standards of good banking practice, which are followed as a minimum by banks and building societies subscribing to it. It allows competition and market forces to operate to encourage higher standards of banking practice for the benefit of customers. The Banking Code was established in 1991 and is now in its sixth edition. The current edition came into effect on 1 March 2003. It includes new requirements on interest rate changes, account switching, basic accounts, credit card statements and branch closures.

The first Business Banking Code was introduced on 31 March 2002 and a revised edition became effective on 1 March 2003. Both these Codes are reviewed every two years. An Independent Reviewer, Prof. Elaine Kempson, recently steered the process on behalf of the sponsors. Under the Banking Code and the Business Banking Code, subscribers promise to meet Key Commitments, which include:

  • to act fairly and reasonably in all dealings
  • to help understand how financial products and services work
  • to deal with things that go wrong quickly and sympathetically
  • publicise this Code, have copies available and make sure that staff are trained to put it into practice.

In addition to the key commitments, the Codes set out how customers should be dealt with, in such areas as:

  • account opening
  • marketing of services
  • information on interest rates
  • bank charges
  • lending
  • confidentiality
  • handling financial difficulty

Copies of the Banking and Business Banking Codes, including alternative formats such as Audio, Braille and Large Print, are available from Banks and Building Societies who subscribe to the Code(s).

Guidance for Banks and Building Societies

The Guidance for both Codes is intended to clarify what the Codes mean, and how they should be interpreted. The Guidance is intended primarily for banks and building societies but is also available to members of the public.


The Banking Code


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