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Reading Europe’s press, it is really reassuring to see how warmly Europeans have embraced President Bush’s formulation that anaxis of evil threatens world peace.  There’s only one small problem.  President Bush thinks the axis of evil is Iran, Iraq and North Korea, and the Europeans think it’s Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Condi Rice.”
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Yorkshire Building Society Fined £4.1m

The City watchdog has fined Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) more than £4.1m for failures in its dealings with thousands of mortgage customers.

The Financial Conduct Authority said that between October 2011 and  July 2012, short-comings by call handlers dealing with customers in payment difficulties meant there were “significant delays” in determining appropriate payment solutions.

It said that while YBS properly viewed repossession as a last resort, the failures meant some customers incurred increased fees and associated interest – money it is already refunding.

Tracey McDermott, FCA director of Enforcement and Financial Crime, said: “Customers in financial difficulty need to be treated fairly and sensitively.

“Firms must ensure that they are taking into account the particular circumstances affecting customers who find themselves in difficulty.

“By allowing cases to drift without agreement, YBS’s actions meant that customers in vulnerable circumstances risked falling into further financial difficulty.”

The FCA said its investigation found that insufficient training and fragmented guidance meant that call handlers did not consistently probe customers’ circumstances and identify the cause of their problems.  

A redress scheme means approximately 33,900 customers will be repaid a total of £8.4m at an average payment of £247.

Chris Pilling, YBS chief executive, said: “As a mutual organisation owned by our members, the service we give to customers is fundamental to us and we are very sorry for letting them down.

“I hope the refunds we have voluntarily given to customers and the changes we have made demonstrate how seriously we have taken this issue and our commitment to put things right.”

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