Some UK banks improving interest rates for savers, says watchdog

FILE PHOTO: FCA signage seen at their head offices in London

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - More savings accounts are offering higher interest rates as a more competitive market emerges, though regulatory intervention may still be needed to ensure customers are getting fair value, Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said on Friday.

Lawmakers have criticised lenders for being quick to pass on higher Bank of England interest rates to borrowers, but much slower raising rates offered to savers.

Earlier this month the FCA told nine banks and building societies, such as HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest and Barclays, to spell out to the regulator by the end of August whether their savings rates offered fair value to customers under the tougher "consumer duty" that came into force at the end of July.

"We will now analyse the information banks and building societies have provided. We will publish an update later this autumn, including any steps we might take if we identify areas of concern," the FCA said in a statement on Friday.

"In July, we outlined a 14-point action plan to ensure people can access a competitive savings market. We are making progress on each of these and will provide a separate update in the autumn."

The FCA said that since its plan was published, it had seen a greater availability of higher interest rates in both term limited and easy access accounts.

"We have also seen moves by some savings providers to align the rates available on accounts currently on sale and those now closed," the watchdog added.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Potter)