banks, will they ever learn?

In the Fools & Horses 1981 Christmas episode Del observes I’ve heard your line of patter my son. If they don’t know Adam Ant’s birthday or the Chelsea result it’s goodnight Vienna, innit”?

The PPI scandal has demonstrated the creative thinking around product design by various financial institutions and for that particular product, almost everyone has now said their goodnights.

It has seen PPI fines in the four years up to 2014 hitting some £42bn and in April this year word was out that the UK big four could be getting hit for another £19bn over the next 2 years.

Although banking sector PPI compensation payouts have been decreasing, what is of concern is that hybrids or variants of the same type of product are still being marketed.

The latest postal example hit my wife’s in-tray this week in the form of a letter from Nationwide introducing her to their super fantastic FlexPlus current account.

The account’s big selling point is in the form of a selection of non-negotiable ‘superb benefits’ such as Defaqto rated motor breakdown insurance, mobile phone insurance and world wide travel insurance.

There are a number of other benefits but of the 8 on show, 5 are insurance products.

And all for £10pm.

Nationwide’s web page reads: “FlexPlus gives you more than just interest. Choose FlexPlus for great banking features as well as a range of insurance policies and account benefits for you and your family. All for £10 a month.

Exclusions and limitations apply, so please read all the insurance policies and benefit details carefully”.

I can see nowhere on their website or in the letter to my wife a very simple statement along the lines of ‘before taking advantage of this “never been easier to switch offer” do check if you already have this type of cover elsewhere’?

Much of what is being offered could already be in place elsewhere, like via home and contents insurance, other bank accounts or credit cards and therefore being paid for twice, leading to consumer complication and confusion when submitting a claim. And of course more compensation claims.

Again I draw on Delboy’s wise words There’s gotta be a way! He who dares wins! There’s a million quids worth of gold out there – our gold. We can’t just say ‘bonjour’ to it”.

And that is the problem, banks cannot help themselves it seems. Why do bank accounts have to come with insurance as a way to attract customers? Surely some simple, reliable, old fashioned service could do the trick at much lower cost?

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