Lord McFall urges the Government to consider portable bank account numbers

Lord McFall sits on the Joint Committee of the House of Commons and House of Lords on the Draft Financial Services Bill

Lord McFall, the former Chairman of the Treasury Committee, has urged the Government to push forward on introducing portable bank account numbers to encourage consumers to switch bank accounts.

John McFall, responding to the Government’s statement on the Vickers Report in the House of Lords Chamber, said that number portability “revolutionised” the mobile phone industry, and that “Only with the portability of current account numbers will we see a revolution in switching accounts in the banking industry.”

He said,

“The Minister mentioned the issue of switching current accounts. Will he accept that the portability of current account numbers is the key? That revolutionised the mobile phone industry. Only with the portability of current account numbers will we see a revolution in switching accounts in the banking industry.”

Lord McFall also noted that, as had been evidenced by Sir John Vickers’ appearance before the Joint Committee on the Draft Financial Services Bill, the Vickers Report would not solve the problem of banks that were “too big to fail,” and that a better regulatory structure and improvements in the culture of the banking industry were still needed.

He said,

“My Lords, when Sir John Vickers appeared before the Draft Financial Services Bill Joint Committee, it was clear that his report would not solve the “too big to fail” issue. What was required was a good regulatory structure, and no regulator globally succeeded in that.

“In the draft Financial Services Bill report there were a number of issues relating to the governance of the Bank of England, and I should like an assurance from the Minister that the Government will take these all-party proposals very seriously. As a previous speaker said, culture is more important than architecture. I think that will be one of the main recommendations of our report.”

Click here to read Lord McFall’s intervention in Hansard, the UK Parliament’s official publication.

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