Many retired members who value their Lloyds and Halifax passbook accounts have asked whether they can challenge the Bank’s decision to withdraw their accounts.
Members will recall that in an earlier Newsletter we reported that Lloyds was planning to get rid of 3.1 million passbook accounts in a bid to reduce the number of counter transactions. 2.6 million of those passbook accounts were held by Halifax customers. Lloyds said it would be writing to customers from 30th October 2023 telling them that their passbook accounts will be phased out.
The Halifax Saving Passbook accounts are being replaced by the Instant Saver, Instant ISA Saver and the Kids’ Saver accounts all of which offer mobile banking and ATM cards. The Lloyds and Bank of Scotland Saving Passbook accounts are being replaced by the Flexible Savings Account, Service Account, Instant Access Savings Account, ISA Save and Children’s Saver.
The Bank has tried to justify its actions on the grounds of improving customer service but we know that’s a lie. As we said in our previous Newsletter:
“It’s about stopping pesky customers from going into branches to pay money into or withdraw money from their passbook accounts. And when the customer footfall drops, which it will, Lloyds will use that as an excuse to close hundreds more branches across the network in 2024”.
The FCA’s new Consumer Duty says that banks must provide customers with products and services that are right for them. Let’s be clear, the Consumer Duty is not the panacea that it’s made out to be. All the power still lies with the retail banks. Equally, recent history shows the FCA is loath to regulate even when presented with unambiguous evidence of wrongdoing.
That said, we have produced a standard letter for members who want to keep their passbook accounts to send to Lloyds and Halifax. A copy of the letter can be found here.
Members with any questions on this Newsletter should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).