For a country that constantly extols the virtues of its large and prosperous financial sector, Britain can sometimes seem curiously inept at providing basic banking services.
This is not just a question of the everyday niggles that irk the average high-street banking customer: the monstrous charges levied on simple products, for instance, or the seemingly endless wait to get through to operatives at remote call-centres. There is also the rolling barrage of mis-selling scandals. The latest involved banks selling duff derivatives to their business customers. And to this “plain vanilla” malpractice has now been added a subgenre of even subtler scams, such as Barclays’ tweaking of the London interbank offered rate – a key interest rate for banks.