Commission Launched to probe the Future of Banking

Rt. Hon David Davis MP, Rt. Hon John McFall MP, Dr. Vince Cable MP and Which? have joined forces to launch the ‘Future of Banking Commission’, which will bring together MPs, banks and the general public to debate Britain’s banking system.

The Future of Banking Commission, chaired by David Davis MP, has been developed by Which?, following a proposal from John McFall MP, to put ordinary people and the wider interests of society at the heart of a reformed banking system. Peter Vicary-Smith, Which? chief executive, will also sit on the Commission.

Which? research shows that eight in ten* people don’t think banks have done enough to ensure that the credit crunch doesn’t happen again and six in ten don’t believe the banks have learnt their lesson from the crisis.

Peter Vicary-Smith, Which? chief executive said:
Since the financial crisis in October 2008, a number of reports have looked at the causes and consequences of the crisis and suggested possible solutions, but they’ve all been written from the perspective of bankers. Which? wants to ensure that, for the first time, the strong feelings of the general public are finally heard and acted on.

“It seems ludicrous that past banking inquiries have ignored those who have been hit hardest by the banking crisis – the ordinary people and the wider interests of society. This is an opportunity to right that wrong. We believe that this Commission is needed to restore trust between the public and the banks.”

Other members of the Future of Banking Commission include Philip Augar (formerly a Group Managing Director at Schroders’ and now a writer on the financial services industry), Clare Spottiswoode (former DG of OFGAS), David Pitt-Watson (Chair, Hermes Focus Asset Management) and Roger Bootle (Managing Director Capital Economics). 

The aim is to establish an independent banking commission that will: listen to the public’s concerns about banking; listen to the perspectives and concerns of industry and other bank stakeholders; enable the restoration of public trust and confidence in the banking system and make recommendations to establish a reformed banking system that serves the needs of ordinary people and the wider interests of society.

Which? will be organising the Which? Big Banking Debate, which will be solely focused on getting consumer views and feeding into the Commission’s discussions. The Commission will also consist of three further events in early 2010 where bankers, politicians, regulators, trade unions and business leaders will give evidence. A report will then be published later in the year.

Rt. Hon David Davis MP said:
“All of the recommendations on banking reform to date have understandably been by bankers, of bankers, and to some extent for bankers. It is past time that we had a proper analysis of banking from the perspective of the people they serve, the savers, borrowers, and businesses that make the economy work. I hope this Commission will deliver that.”

Rt. Hon John McFall MP said:
“The banking crisis has had such a profound effect on people, that we believe their views and concerns must be at the heart of banking reform. There is a social dimension to the crisis and bankers, regulators and politicians need to understand and take account of these concerns.”

Dr. Vince Cable MP said:
“It is high time that the voices of consumers were recognised in the debate over the future of the country's banking services not least since the banks owe their continued existence to the taxpayer and rely on their guarantee.  I am pleased to serve on this Commission which I hope will go some way to recovering the trust between banks and the people they serve.”

For more information on the Future of Banking Commission, go to www.which.co.uk/banking

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