To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress the Government has made in working with non-governmental organisations to mitigate the effect of bank de-risking on their ability to provide humanitarian, peace-building and development assistance in broken and fragile states.
The government recognises the challenges that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) face from the withdrawal of banking services to the NGO sector. NGOs play a vital role in delivering humanitarian assistance in some of the most challenging and high-risk environments. The government is committed to helping them play this vital role whilst managing the risks that inevitably arise from operating in fragile states and conflict zones.
Banks’ reduced appetite for risk, or ‘de-risking’, is a global trend affecting many countries and a number of sectors, and is due to a complex set of issues that makes finding a solution difficult.
The government has been working with industry and affected sectors in the UK to better understand the issues and encourage dialogue with affected sectors and the banking sector. A recent report by the Financial Conduct Authority found that banks could do more to improve how they assess risks and communicate with their customers. The government will therefore continue to work with the regulators and banks to improve understanding in the banking sector.
The government also provided comprehensive guidance for the NGO sector in November 2015 on the range of legislative frameworks covering the activities of NGOs overseas and is reviewed as required. The government will continue this dialogue to support the NGO sector in managing their risks when operating overseas in fragile states. HM Treasury is also working with other relevant departments to set up a HMG-NGO Working Group.