Ring-fencing messages

Our key messages about ring-fencing form the core of what all banking customers need to know.

Following the financial crisis that began in 2007, UK legislation was passed to better protect customers and the day-to-day banking services they rely on. The legislation requires each large bank to separate services like current accounts, savings accounts, and payments from risks in other parts of the business, for example in investment banking.

This separation is called ‘ring-fencing’. It means that large banks may need to change the way they are structured. Banks started making changes during 2017 and will continue during 2018, to complete the process by 1 January 2019.

How customers could be affected

You do not need to take any action unless you are contacted by your bank. If you are affected by the changes, your bank will tell you how, when the changes take place and whether you need to do anything.

Customers of different banks may be affected in different ways. Even similar customers of the same bank may be affected in different ways.

Some bank customers will experience changes to their account details. For example, some customers may receive a new sort code. Some will also receive a new account number. If you are affected in this way, your bank will ensure that any outgoing payments, for example standing orders and Direct Debits, are made as normal. Your bank will also redirect to your new account details any incoming payments made to your old account details.

Fraud prevention

All bank customers should remain alert to the possibility of fraud:

  • Treat all letters, phone calls, emails and text messages with caution. Don’t assume they are genuine, even if the person seems to know some basic information about you.
  • Do not give out your account or card details or make changes to payments unless you are certain who you are dealing with.
  • A genuine bank or organisation will not contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. Never give out your personal or financial details unless it is necessary to use a service that you have requested and given your consent to, and where you trust the provider.
  • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision or acting quickly. A genuine bank or other organisation won’t mind waiting if you want time to think.

If you have any doubts at all about what you are being asked to do, check with your bank. Always use contact details you can trust, for example the phone number on your bank statement, rather than any details provided in the communication in question.