Aldermore panel debates spell out a positive future for competition in banking during party conference season

IN: Industry news

Competition in banking has been a hotly contested subject since the financial crisis began in late 2007, and during political conference season, Aldermore was keen to explore this incredibly significant topic with the three main parties.

Over the course of the last month, Aldermore has been joined by a range of renowned political figures and industry experts to discuss the future of UK banking in three insightful panel debate sessions.

Beginning at the Labour Party Conference, Aldermore’s Managing Director of Mortgages and Commercial Lending Charles Haresnape weighed up the key challenges for the industry with Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee Chair Adrian Bailey, Former Labour Pensions Minister James Plaskitt and Federation of Small Businesses National Policy Chairman Mike Cherry. The panel were quick to agree that competition in banking needs to be addressed, particularly with the majority of SMEs, savers and homebuyers still approaching only a small number of larger banks for their financial needs.

These thoughts were echoed in the next fringe debate with Conservative MP Mark Hoban, Aldermore’s Group Strategy and Marketing Director Vicki Harris and British Chambers of Commerce Director General John Longworth, ably chaired by The Times’ Economics Editor, Patrick Aldrick. The panel noted that though new banks like Aldermore are entering the market, more must be done to encourage SMEs and individuals to look beyond the high street and consider the full range of financial products and providers at their disposition.

This led panellists at both events to question the role of government in helping to shape a fairer banking sector to best meet the needs of businesses and consumers: a theme which continued into the final session at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference. Chaired by Financial Times Political Correspondent Kiran Stacey, the last event featured BIS Select Committee Member Mike Crockart MP and the Treasury Select Committee’s John Thurso MP, joining Aldermore’s Charles Haresnape.

While opinions differed over the level of regulation and government intervention necessary to generate a healthy level of competition, all agreed that there is still work to be done to build a more diverse, trusted banking sector.

Providing a better way of banking for small businesses, savers and homebuyers has always been a central mission for Aldermore, and the Bank hopes to play a central role in making the panellists’ vision for the industry a reality.


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