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Banks commit to ‘help businesses thrive and grow’

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Many of the big banks have committed to a range of actions they say will improve customer service.

The Business Finance Taskforce today published 17 actions to improve customer relations, provide better access to finance,provide better information and to promote understanding for customers.

British Bankers’ Association chief executive Angela Knight says: “The proposals are substantial, wide ranging and represent a real opportunity for the banks to provide finance, help and support both directly and through partnership with business organisations up and down the country.”

She says the it demonstrates banks’ real commitment to helping their business customers.

The measures include setting up a £1.5bn Business growth Fund for firms looking to grow, publishing lending principles and establishing a round table where business leaders can meet with representatives from the banks.

The announcement comes after David Cameron said banks need to “return the favour” of the taxpayer bailout and start lending.

A host of other politicians at the party conferences attacked the banks for failing to lend.

The taskforce was set up in July in response to a government green paper and is made up of chief executives and senior representatives from Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Santander, Standard Chartered and the BBA.

Barclays chairman and chair of the taskforce John Varley says: “ As a bank we have an obligation to help the UK economy return to growth. The private sector will play a key role in the recovery and it is our job to help viable firms to be successful.”

The measures to improve customer relationships include supporting a network of business mentors, publishing lending principles, establishing a transparent appeals process and initiating dialogue about refinancing 12 months ahead of loan terms coming to an end.

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