Lloyds TSB bins their Premier current accounts in New Year

Business banking news review: week ending 20 Dec 2012

Come 1 January 2013, one major high street financial service provider will no longer be offering its Premier current accounts to its customers.

Industry experts say that Lloyds TSB will cease selling its Premier, Platinum, Gold, and Silver current accounts over the phone or in branch indefinitely amidst fears of being accused of ‘mis-selling’ the accounts, though Lloyds denies such a possibility. However, the accounts will still be available to online banking customers, provided there is no staff interaction with a customer.

These packaged accounts come with many add-ons such as mobile cover, travel insurance, and even in some instances better interest rates, all in exchange for the customer paying a monthly fee. Around one out of seven baking customers has a premium packaged account according to industry estimates, yet up to one third of these customers may not even use these extra services, research says, leading to the mis-selling fears, as telephone and branch staff encouraged by their bosses to meet targets by selling more of these premium accounts.

A spokesperson for Lloyds commented on the move, remarking that while there may be rumours that the Financial Services Authority may be pressuring the bank to discontinue the practice the true reason is to train staff and institute changes to their systems. Lloyds employees are being brought into line with the Halifax sales process, as the Lloyds-owned bank has a specific system that is being applied across the entire banking group, the spokesperson added.

The Lloyds representative said that the premium accounts will only be unavailable for a short period of time. However, there are no indications when these financial products will be made available once more, with the spokesperson simply stating that they will be back on the market sometime ‘later in 2013.’

The cost of these current accounts range from £9.95 a month for the Silver account, which offers mobile phone insurance, basic AA breakdown cover, and free European travel insurance, to as much as £25 a month for its Premier account, which comes with a wide range of perks.

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