Currently, the BCSB monitors and enforces voluntary banking codes which govern banks’ day to day relationships with their customers.
In November the voluntary codes will be replaced by new FSA rules which all banks, building societies and credit unions must follow.
The FSA says notable changes for consumers will include the requirement to provide a prompt and efficient service to help customers switch accounts. This would apply more widely than the commitments in the banking codes, for example to cash ISAs, where the FSA says it has seen delays in the past.
The new FSA rules will also require information about banks’ products and services to be made available to consumers before they become customers.
The FSA will also ensure service remains “prompt, efficient and fair for the duration of the relationship” and firms will also need to comply with the treating customers fairly regime.
The FSA says it will fine firms if they fail to comply with the new rules to the detriment of their customers.
Areas of retail banking that fall outside the FSA’s remit, such as overdrafts and credit card lending, will continue to be regulated under the Consumer Credit Act.
FSA retail managing director Jon Pain says: “These are important new standards that firms will need to meet. They will affect consumers’ everyday interaction with banks.
“Before the new rules come into force, the FSA will publish comprehensive information for consumers detailing their rights and outlining what they can expect from their banking provider.”