First banking protocol in country launched in Romford

A new banking protocol – the first of its kind in the country – was launched in Romford today (Monday).

Havering Council has teamed up with local banks, Met Police and Age Concern to create the banking protocol, which is aimed to keep local residents safe when they withdraw their money.

The council hopes it will give the elderly and vulnerable people in Havering using the bank greater protection from thieves and conmen.

The Romford branches of Lloyds TSB, the Co-operative Bank, Santander and Natwest have already pledged their support to the scheme and were at Romford Town Hall today to launch the event.

It has come after several local people were pressured into withdrawing their savings by bogus builders, including one elderly Havering man who withdrew �10,000 from his account after being driven to the bank twice by conmen.

They said they would do work to his house but never did.

The protocol means cashiers will have set questions to ask if they see anyone withdrawing a large amount.

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Dominic Keating, customer services manager at Lloyds TSB in Romford Market Place, said: “We will discreetly ask them what it’s for. If they still want to withdraw cash, we’ll say it’s not the best thing to do and offer to issue a cheque instead. A genuine workman will accept cheques.

“It’s all about educating our customers and us remaining vigilant and inquiring.”

Robin Ball, from Havering Trading Standards, said

Cllr Geoff Starns, cabinet member for community safety, said: “We hope this will be rolled out across the country.

“This is an important new initiative and I’m glad so many professional bodies are signing up to it.

“If we can prevent just one person falling victim to crooks, it will be worthwhile.”

Chief Inspector Tracey Goddard-King, of Havering police, said: “While levels of these crimes remain relatively low, this scheme sends a strong message to criminals that this borough, its residents and banking services will not tolerate their actions.”

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