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Big banks vow to offer better customer service

Knight
Knight: ‘A real opportunity for the banks to provide finance and support’

Many of the big banks have committed to actions they believe will improve customer service.

The Business Finance Taskforce last week published 17 actions it says will improve customer relations and access to finance, provide better information and promote understanding for customers.

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

The measures include setting up a £1.5bn business growth fund for firms looking to exp-and, publishing lending principles and establishing a roundtable to enable business leaders to meet with representatives from the banks.

The announcement comes after David Cameron said that 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 enough to small businesses.

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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