At a Treasury select committee evidence session on mortgage arrears on Tuesday, Labour MP for West Dunbartonshire McFall reminded the FSA that it was in charge of lenders and not the other way around after the regulator expressed reluctance to name the firms under investigation for arrears’ handling.
He said: “What you have stated to us in your evidence is that disclosure to the public of the names of the firms with who we are in discussions would be likely to undermine their and other firms’ willingness to engage in a dialogue with us and to provide us with information.
“That goes completely against Hector Sants’ proposition that these firms should be scared of the FSA. This seems pretty mealy-mouthed. They will not engage in dialogue with you if you name them? You are in charge, not them.”
FSA retail markets managing director Jon Pain said: “Our enforcement action is very decisive and we will take that action through to its conclusion but quite frankly until the full enforcement process is complete it would be rather unjust to say they are guilty before they are proven guilty.”
But McFall said that the FSA had a bias towards the indus- try by giving them the benefit of the doubt where it does not do so with the customer.
He said: “I think we can ach-ieve a situation where firms are named. They are not shamed, they are named.
“There is an investigation so that people can understand that process is going on. It is good for the FSA, it is good for consumers, in fact, it is good for the industry as well.”