Examination of Witnesses

Part of Financial Services Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:11 pm on 19th November 2020.

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Jesse Griffiths:

Yes, I think that is very sensible. The main point I would make is that those institutions are very different from other types of financial institution, and need a proportionate regulatory regime. The point that you raised is important. They frequently raise the idea of establishing a network of 18 regional banks on the model of the German Sparkasse system. For that to work, they would need to centralise IT and other services so they do not have to replicate those across the different institutions. As they have, embedded in the network idea, an agreement that they will not compete with each other, they can fall foul of competition regulations, so those would need to be considered.

Those are some of many examples that show you need a different regime for these types of institutions. On following a model like the Sparkasse system, in Germany those regional institutions are jointly responsible for each other, so that creates a very powerful incentive for them to be prudent and responsible lenders. If that internal incentive is already there, you should consider which other regulations are not so necessary for those institutions because, by their nature, they are highly prudent lenders.