Financial services regulation alert

The British Bankers Association has just released their Statement of Principles. The Statement sets out 10 promises that the banks are making to small business customers, particularly when they are in financial distress.

Increasingly, there is an expectation (here and in other jurisdictions), that banks should demonstrate social responsibility.

The Statement of Principles is set out below:

Our promises to small business customers in financial difficulty

The banks are committed to a Statement of Principles which sets out how they deal with their small business customers. These Principles cover both the good times and the bad and, importantly, map out how banks and their customers can work together to overcome financial difficulties.

Under the Banking Code we restate our promise to treat small businesses sympathetically and positively if they face financial difficulties.

We will:

  • maintain competitively-priced lending and promote it actively  
  • help you by getting to know your business - this means we will ask for financial information, such as your company accounts, business plan and cash-flow forecasts  
  • speak to you in plain language and in the way you want - for instance by telephone, email or letter - whichever you prefer 
  • confirm the conditions of any arrangement, loan or guarantee with you in writing  
  • recommend you get independent advice before borrowing from us  
  • provide, on request, information about where you can get independent financial advice  
  • explain - if you want and in writing if you ask - why we turn you down for a loan  
  • get in touch with you in good time if we see you heading towards financial difficulty  
  • work with your advisers, if appropriate, to consider the best way forward and 
  • support any rescue plan we believe will succeed.

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