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Oversight Committee

Part of Financial Services Bill (Money) (No. 2) – in the House of Commons at 8:00 pm on 10th December 2012.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office), Party Chair, Co-operative Party 8:00 pm, 10th December 2012

My hon. Friend gives a good example of the lack of joined-up thinking in our financial services markets. It would be good to see the big beasts of the financial services jungle supporting the newer players that want to address the problem of lending deserts.

Numerous websites offer comparisons between banking products, but the Centre for Responsible Credit has highlighted how, in practice, the banks release very little information about their lending at community level, either for businesses or for personal customers. Data on lending to and deposits from small businesses and third sector organisations, by postcode or at neighbourhood level, are not routinely available in the UK, even though much of that information is held by the banks and could be released.

The last time I spoke to representatives of the British Bankers Association, they told me that they were looking at this issue. It would be good to hear what the Financial Secretary thinks about it. My hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham East clearly thinks that the Minister will be a new broom sweeping through the fusty ways of the Treasury, and I hope that he will use his considerable influence to maintain the pressure on the British Bankers Association to step up the release of those data. I also hope that he will use his meetings with the chief executive and board members of the Financial Conduct Authority to require them to initiate similar pressure, in private before the FCA is properly established, and in public thereafter.