The Government believes it is vitally important that the banking sector meets the needs of vulnerable consumers.
The Government has given the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the independent conduct regulator for the financial services sector, a statutory objective to protect consumers. The FCA continually assess whether the banks they regulate are meeting the rules regarding the needs of vulnerable consumers.
UK banks’ treatment of their customers is governed by the FCA in its Principles for Businesses, as well as specific requirements in its Handbook. The FCA's Principles require firms to conduct their business with due skill, care and diligence, and to pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly.
The nine largest personal current account providers in the UK are legally required to offer fee-free basic bank accounts to customers who do not have a bank account or who are ineligible for a bank’s standard current account. The Treasury’s December 2017 publication shows that in total there are nearly 8 million basic bank accounts open in the UK, and that just over 900,000 new accounts were opened between July 2016 and June 2017.