A high street bank has outraged customers after effectively banning everyone apart from the well-off from using one of its branches, says the Daily Telegraph .
Only those qualifying for the "Premier service" will be allowed to speak to staff at HSBC in the Canford Cliffs area of Poole, Dorset, which means having either £50,000 in savings, a £200,000 mortgage or a £100,000 mortgage plus a £75,000 salary.
All other account holders have been told they can use the cashpoint and paying-in machines but must travel to another branch if they wish to be served personally.
Anyone not prosperous enough to qualify for Premier status can still join up - at a cost of £19.95 a month, reports the paper.
Customers are said to have been left outraged by the change, which begins in June, with one account holder saying: "This is outrageous. It is particularly discriminatory against people who are house-rich and cash-poor. What happens if you are an elderly person living in a £500,000 house with no mortgage and no £75,000 salary?"
An HSBC spokesman said: "Not everybody in the world is equal. Some people have higher incomes and need greater services through the bank. These customers demand a better service.”
THE STREET in central London which is home to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been named Britain's number one identity fraud hotspot, while St Albans, Slough and Woking also feature in the UK top 10, reports the Guardian.
The ID fraud league table was issued by data specialist Experian, which also revealed more than nine in 10 identity thefts are not reported to the police. Identity theft has been called Britain's fastest-growing crime, and Experian said it saw a "dramatic increase" in criminal activity last year.
More than 2,100 people contacted the company's "victims of fraud" service in the second half of 2006 - a 69% increase on the same period in 2005.
London remains the identity fraud capital of the UK, with all of the top 25 most-at-risk areas located within the M25, while the area around Victoria Street in Westminster has overtaken Kensington as the highest-risk area in the UK.
AND INVESTORS WHO lost billions of pounds through the Equitable Life crisis should be compensated by the government, European legislators said yesterday, reports the Financial Times.
They also urged the government to "accept and implement any recommendations the UK Parliamentary Ombudsman may make" in her second report on Equitable, which is due to be published later this year.
The European Parliament said its inquiry committee could not force the payment of compensation, but the committee's draft report said the UK was "under an obligation to assume responsibility" for victims of the Equitable Life debacle.
It "strongly recommends that the UK government devise and implement an appropriate scheme with a view to compensating Equitable Life policyholders both within the UK and abroad".
The report also attacked the UK regulatory system for excessive leniency towards Equitable's financial strength, which was partly due to Britain's "light touch" regulatory policy which "went one step too far and contributed to the creation of a weak regulatory environment, which allowed the difficulties at the Equitable Life Assurance Society to grow unchecked".
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