UK banks sign up to group to examine fair business banking
Several UK banks have signed up to a group that will focus on the fairness of business banking for SMEs.
Lloyds, RBS, Barclays, Santander, HSBC, Triodos UK and Clydesdale are among the banks that have joined the group, which is run by UK banking and financial services trade association UK Finance and the Lending Standards Boards (LSB) in partnership with the all-party parliamentary group (APPG).
The new group will examine the fairness of business banking, with banks that have signed up being required to follow the LSB’s Standards of Lending Practice when providing SMEs with access to finance.
In addition to signing up UK banks, the group will consult with organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses, SME Alliance and the Chartered Banker Institute.
Action is currently being taken to help SMEs receive better treatment when it comes to accessing finance, with two parliamentary committees publishing a joint review on the issue.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is also looking to boost the protection of SMEs by giving them access to the Financial Ombudsman Service (the Ombudsman), which is only available to micro-businesses and consumers.
This comes after the FCA launched a review into the treatment of SMEs banking with RBS, with a lack of transparency of contracts being one of the main discoveries of the report.
Commenting on the importance of fair business banking, UK Finance said: “Clear, understandable and fair contracts are the foundations of trust between SMEs and finance providers, allowing SME customers to compare offers and terms across providers.”