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Banks making life hard for powers of attorney

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Banks are causing difficulties for people acting as a power of attorney to register and assert their authority, research reveals.

In a survey by consumer group Which? of 2,900 members who have acted as an attorney in the past three years, one in five said banks were particularly difficult to deal with when it came to registering their powers.

Almost one in ten said the same about private pension providers and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Yorkshire Bank was rated as the worst bank, with a third claiming its service was poor when registering as an attorney. HSBC and Co-op were close behind, with 27% saying they received poor service when registering.

Which? found banks were restricting attorney’s access to accounts, despite them being entitled to the same access as the donor (the person they are making decisions for).

Post Office Money, Tesco Bank and Virgin Money refused to give attorney’s access to online banks accounts, while Nationwide was the only provider that wouldn’t issue an additional debit card for attorneys.

Which? also investigated 14 big banks and found that staff regularly gave inconsistent advice over the phone to attorneys registering their powers and restricting attorney’s access to accounts.

Harry Rose, Which? money editor, said: “Attorneys should not have to jump through hoops when dealing with banks, and should be able to rely on banks for accurate information and advice.

“Banks need to ensure staff are fully trained on power of attorney and have in place an efficient registration process for attorneys.”

A spokesperson at Yorkshire Bank said: “We always strive to maintain a high standard of customer service so it’s disappointing to see these results. We are actively looking at how we improve our service in this area.”

Further reading: Why a lasting power of attorney matters

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