Parliamentary Reception Speakers

The APPG for Challenger Banks and Building Societies hosted its Annual Reception in the House of Commons on Tuesday 29th March, kindly supported by Allica Bank, with City Minister and Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen and Head of the PRA and Deputy Governor of the Bank of England among the speakers.

The reception, which was sponsored by Allica Bank, was attended by leading figures from a huge range of challenger institutions and building societies, financial regulators, trade associations, and more.

Speaking to the event, City Minister John Glen MP said praised the “constructive activism” of the APPG on issues around Challenger Banks and Building Societies and stressed the importance of the APPG’s output in a range of areas.

He emphasised the critical role that Challenger Banks and Building Societies are going to play in the economic recovery and the importance of competition in building a vibrant and varied banking sector.

Noting that the new survey on the impact of COVID-19 on the sector, which the APPG is just publishing, which confirms the vital role the challenger institutions have played, the Minister said that he was pleased that the sector had benefitted from the advice and guidance from Government and regulators. He also emphasised his support for Building Societies and the Government’s commitment to updating the Building Societies Act.

Glen also highlighted the opportunities of Strong and Simple and encouraged those at the reception to continue to communicate with government what it wants this agenda to deliver.

Sam Woods from the Bank of England added that they would be publishing a consultation on the scope of Strong and Simple in the next month.

He also provided an update on the Bank’s thinking on MREL, an issue of relevance to many of the sector attending the event and made reference to the cost of living crisis and the challenges that could pose to the sector as well to consumers.

APPG Chair, Rt. Hon Karen Bradley MP, also used the event to announce that the next inquiry that APPG will be conducting is into the role that challenger institutions can play in the levelling up agenda. More details and a full terms of reference on that inquiry will be published shortly.

Commenting on the reception, APPG Chair Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP said:

 “After the disruption of COVID-19, it was fantastic to get so many people from the challenger and building society sectors together in person.

“It was an opportunity to reflect on the challenges the past couple of years have caused. But I was also struck by the optimism that most people had for the opportunities there are for challengers to have a really positive impact in the economic recovery from COVID-19 and in the future.

“The APPG will continue to play a big part in pushing Government and regulators to enable challenger institutions to flourish and helping them to talk to Parliamentarians in both Houses about the issues that matter to them, starting with the levelling up agenda.”

“My thanks to Allica Bank for their kind sponsorship of this reception, to John Glen and Sam Woods for speaking, and to everyone who attended. After all the restrictions of the past few years, I hope this will be the first of many such events in the months and years ahead.”

Richard Davies, CEO of Allica Bank who sponsored the reception added:

“Challenger banks and institutions are key to delivering more competition and choice for customers. Indeed, Allica Bank is proud to be building a bank specifically focused on hard-working established SMEs that had been previously overlooked and underserved by incumbents. We are therefore pleased to be supporting the APPG for Challenger Banks and Building Societies as it continues its vital work to promote a fairer and more diverse UK banking sector.

“There is certainly no shortage of fintech and financial services innovation in the UK, but there is still much more that can be done to ensure that new entrants and challengers can operate on a truly level playing field with the big 5 incumbent banks. Enabling challengers to flourish and have a play a full role in supporting the UK’s economic recovery will require institutions, government, MPs, regulators and industry stakeholders to work together to remove barriers. That is why the APPG and events like this one are so important.”