RECENTLY I met a bank manager in the Ealing branch of a major international bank to discuss a competitive savings account advertised in a national paper.

To my surprise I came out with another account with an even better rate but which was bundled with a credit card with a £20,000 credit limit.

A week later I received a call from another official with the bank to say that, unknown to me, there were also several insurance products attached to the credit card for which a premium is payable.

I was clearly very concerned that I was being mis-sold products by this unscrupulous banker at the branch when all I wanted was a saving account.

What is Labour doing about regulating the behaviour of these major international banks? There is no debate about the kind of banking environment people need in the UK. To take a leaf out of the Green Party's book: we need more of the good old decent local community banking and mutuals.

Note that the West Bromwich Building Society has just struck a deal with its creditors to exchange their debts for Tier one capital.

This now means the society has shareholders who will receive a massive 25 per cent share of all future profits at the expense of existing members.

The Tier one capital instrument agreed with the FSA now leaves the way open for other mutuals to go down this path, which is a path that can only incentivise profit maximisation rather than local community financing for its members.

Mutuals and societies have historically relied on depositors for their funding, which has always encouraged relationship banking and thrift rather than greed.

Unfortunately, we have seen several building societies go under because they have strayed from their core values, but I have not heard of any credit unions suffering. The sort of new financing at West Bromwich will be to the detriment of its core values and will incentivise the wrong behaviour.

The Government should be looking at the broader ethos and structure of banking that will support local communities and prevent the sort of behaviour I experienced above in Ealing.