The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has issued questionnaires to banks asking how they will ensure that compensation is paid promptly in the event that they lose the overdraft charges case, prompting legal groups to suggest that it is now "inevitable" that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) will win the dispute.
The case will be amongst the first heard by the UK's new Supreme Court when it is sworn in later this month, after the banks lodged an appeal against an earlier decision. The Supreme Court will first rule on whether or not the OFT is entitled to decide whether or not the overdraft charges are fair. If it determines that the OFT can do so, there will then be further deliberation to decide on a fair level for the charges.
The FSA's questionnaire may have been prompted by last week's intervention from the Prime Minister, who wrote to MoneySavingExpert editor Martin Lewis to explain that he wished to see a resolution to the case "without further delay."
It is now thought that the banks may drop their objections and begin the process of repayment, although their representatives have denied that this is the case. Leaked memos from two major lenders have shown that contingencies are being drawn up to ensure prompt repayment in the event that they lose the case.
There are currently 1.2 million bank customers with claims 'frozen' while the legal battle continues. The FSA's questionnaire focused on the treatment of these cases.