COMMONS

Treasury Committee takes evidence from top bank execs

24 November 2011

As part of its inquiry into the Independent Commission on Banking, the Treasury Select Committee today took evidence from Group Chief Executive of RBS, Stephen Hester, Group Chairman of HSBC, Douglas Flint CBE, Chief Executive of Santander UK, Ana Botin and interim Group Chairman of Lloyds TSB Tim Tookey

The Committee also questioned Lloyds and RBS about recent moves restricting access for basic bank customers to cash machines.

Commenting on issues raised during the evidence session, Chairman of the Treasury Committee, Andrew Tyrie, said:

On lending to small businesses:

“On the one hand all of the banks who appeared before us today suggested that they will meet their Project Merlin lending targets and at a reasonable price of loans. On the other hand, SMEs are insisting that they cannot get access – at any price - to some of the loans they need to survive and to grow.”

On international competitiveness and the prospect of banks relocating:

“Any legislation based on the ICB proposal must protect the British taxpayer.

“The UK banking sector adds huge value to the UK economy. It will have a vital role to play in restoring growth.

“We need to know whether post-crisis regulation is inhibiting growth and, if so, to what extent?”

On access to cash machines for basic account:

“I understand the need to reduce costs, particularly at this difficult time.

“However, it is clear that restricting access to ATM machines will disproportionately affect some of the most vulnerable members of society and this issue would benefit from further consideration.”

On the future of cheques (When asked about cheque guarantee cards, Stephen Hester said that he was not briefed sufficiently to answer):

“I understand that Stephen Hester has a huge amount on his plate as a Chief Executive of a bank but I’m sure he understands that, for many of our constituents, cheques and cheque guarantee cards are a hugely important issue”

Image: iStockphoto

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