Independent review of the Banking and Business Banking Codes

Authors: Professor Elaine Kempson
Funded by: British Bankers' Association
Published by: British Bankers' Association
Publication date: November 2002

In January 2002, Elaine Kempson was appointed to undertake the first independent review of both the existing Banking Code for personal customers and also the new Small Business Banking Code that came into effect in March 2002.

The Banking Code, for personal customers, has been in existence for more than eleven years, with the fifth version being published in January 2001. The Business Banking Code, which is based closely on the Banking Code, was published for the first time in March 2002. Both Codes set down standards of good banking practice for banks and building societies to follow when they deal with their customers and are complemented by more detailed Guidance, which is designed to assist subscribers in interpreting the Code. Implementation of the Code is monitored by the Banking Code Standards Board.

The review began in January 2002 when letters were sent to key stakeholders for the Personal Code, inviting written submissions on areas of the Code needing revision. In February 2002 a round table was held with key stakeholders, to consider in detail the major points raised in the submissions. Subsequently, participants were invited to submit further written evidence on the points discussed at the round table. The information collected during these consultations was brought together, along with any available research reports, and this formed the basis for bilateral meetings with the stakeholders during April 2002.

Meanwhile the Business Banking Code was published in March 2002 and written submissions were invited from appropriate stakeholders, who then attended a round table on the new Code in April 2002.

The period of consultation concluded in June 2002, when two further round tables (one for the Personal Code and one for the Business Code) were held to discuss the initial conclusions and recommendations of the independent review and also to obtain feedback on the review process itself.

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