Big five banks deserting the high street, says MP

The larger financial institutions no longer “have an answer” to the needs of local communities, said the MP for Hexham and regional banks campaigner Guy Opperman, adding that the competition provided by mutuals on the high street is still “not enough”.

Speaking after the Future of Regional Banks event in Whitehall on 6 November, Mr Opperman said: “In every major town, it is manifestly clear that the large big five banks are becoming disinterested in manitaining a high-street presence.

“There are a large number of traditionally trained bankers and people in the finance industry who are dismayed at how the large banks are behaving, who live in their local community and would love nothing more than to be in charge with real power, decision-making and accountability.

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“They would have the chance to do the job they were trained to do, but one that has been effectively taken away from them by the banking system.”

Mr Opperman said new regional banks were already in the pipeline, with projects in the north east and Northumberland already underway.

He added that Anthony Thomson, the founder of Metro Bank, was the most far advanced in developing a regional bank, saying that he would not be surprised if it would be ready to launch by Autumn of next year.

Mr Opperman said: “He is at the very advanced stages of fundraising and the application, and he has already shown with Metro Bank that good service can be rewarded by profits.”

There are a further 21 applications from challenger banks to the PRA currently pending.

PRA view