Uk Banks Must Make Fast Account Switching Work Or Face It Overhaul

PSA: the Nokia Lumia 1020 arrives in the UK today

PSA: the Nokia Lumia 1020 arrives in the UK today

Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth By Matt Scuffham Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:38pm BST LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s banks are under pressure to make a success of new rules allowing customers to switch accounts within a week, if they want to avoid even tougher government demands such as an industry-wide information-sharing programme. The new rules – which aim to ensure that all outgoing and incoming payments are automatically transferred – come into effect next Monday as part of the government’s campaign to break the dominance of Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC, which between them control three-quarters of UK retail accounts. Lawmakers and regulators believe a lack of choice has been a factor behind scandals such as the mis-selling of loan insurance and complex interest rate hedging products, which have cost banks over 20 billion pounds in compensation. The government said in June that if 7-day switching did not deliver the expected benefits it would consider more radical options, including “full account portability” – meaning an industry-wide IT platform that would allow customers to keep their account details when they switch banks. Such a move would force banks to abandon their existing IT systems and invest jointly in a system that could be used by the whole industry – including any new competitors, which are also being encouraged by the government. The cross-party Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, which was asked to make recommendations for bank reform, asked the government to initiate an independent study of the technical feasibility, costs and benefits of such a move. Banking bosses are not keen on the idea: Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio recently said it would not work and be too difficult to implement. “If they don’t get it right, political pressure will mount for something more formal. It’s in everyone’s interest to make this work,” said a senior executive at one of Britain’s biggest retail banks, referring to 7-day switching. Bank customers are notoriously reluctant to move because of the perceived difficulties involved and a feeling that rival lenders are no different. But 7-day switching could be a game changer, according to surveys. Research by YouGov, commissioned by business services provider SAS, suggested around 5 million UK current account holders will switch banks in the next year as a result of the changes. It found that 2 in 5 customers had not switched in the past because they believed the process to be time-consuming although 1 in 4 said they didn’t think their current bank offered the best customer service. Nick Payne, retail banking consultant at SAS, said the research suggested consumer switching between retail banks could increase significantly from historic levels of 2 to 3 percent. “Now savvy consumers can scour the market for the package that best suits them.

A sign from a branch of a Lloyds bank is reflected in a window in central London May 13, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

This is made possible by leading hardware technology combined with a new application called Nokia Pro Camera, which makes it easy for anyone to take professional quality images. Either before a picture is taken or after it has been shot, the zoom capability enables people to discover and then rediscover the personal stories each image can tell. With a beautiful interface that visually demonstrates how settings will affect the final photo or video, Nokia Pro Camera makes it easier than ever to capture, edit and share photos and videos with unrivaled clarity. Using a new feature called dual capture, the Nokia Lumia 1020 simultaneously takes a high resolution 38 megapixel image for endless editing opportunities, and creates a 5 megapixel picture that is easy to share to social networks with Windows Phone 8. The Nokia Lumia 1020’s 41 megapixel sensor features leading ZEISS optics with six physical lenses, plus optical image stabilisation, delivering crystal clear pictures even in low light conditions together with a xenon flash to produce the best possible close up images when taken in the dark. It also captures blur free videos with stereo sound even at the loudest concerts thanks to Nokia Rich Recording, which handles sound pressure levels six times louder than conventional smartphone microphones. “We are delighted with the response we have received from the UK marketplace” said Conor Pierce, VP, Nokia UK and Ireland. “It is clear that there is a strong appetite for a smartphone with such unrivaled image taking capabilities. The ability to express your imaging creativity and then share instantly really does put this phone in a class of its own.” Adding further professional capabilities and additional battery life, Nokia launch the new Nokia Camera Grip. This unique accessory complements device features usually reserved for stand-alone cameras, like the Nokia Lumia 1020’s built-in xenon flash and mechanical shutter. The Nokia Camera Grip also sports a tripod mount connection. The personal nature of Windows Phone makes it the perfect platform for the Nokia Lumia 1020, showcasing live images on the Start screen with the Photos tile, quick sharing to social networks, and easy access to files across a number of devices with SkyDrive. With the dedicated camera button, Windows Phone is designed with imaging in mind.