FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey has said that the regulator is not looking for “any big extra powers” as it looks to tackle financial exclusion.
Giving evidence to the House of Lords financial exclusion select committee this morning, Bailey said that getting more consumers access to financial services was “near the top of the priority list” under its new Mission document.
Bailey said: “Obviously if we haven’t got a population that has access to financial services then frankly we are not really achieving our outcomes.”
The FCA is currently conducting work in areas like high-cost credit, hire purchasing and payday lending to tackle financial exclusion.
Bailey said that the regulator did not need any additional clout to widen access to financial services, but in areas such as the payday lending cap Government support had helped the regulator speed up its work.
He said: “I don’t think we are looking for any big extra powers. I think we have got a pretty broad ranging set of powers actually. The payday lending cap was quite interesting, though it was before my time but I was on the executive, the FCA did benefit from a particular provision Parliament gave it which allowed it to be done more rapidly than would have been the case otherwise.”
Also giving evidence, FCA director of strategy and competition Christopher Woolard said: “In that particular instance we probably would’ve faced a legal decision on whether to have a cap, whereas in practice we had to take a call to be able to defend ourselves legally on just the level of the cap.”