U.K. banks should be forced to publish detailed information on their lending to encourage activity in deprived areas, the opposition Labour Party said.
In a policy paper published in London today, the party pointed to the 1975 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act in the U.S., which requires banks to give details about where, how much and to what ethnic and income groups they’re lending.
Such information is unavailable in the U.K., and Labour lawmaker Gareth Thomas said its absence has helped create a situation where an area such as Thamesmead in southeast London has 55,000 people and no banks.
“Consistent disclosure by the banks of anonymized data on what they lend, to whom and where, and stronger incentives to work in all communities including with community banks, could help banks become more accountable to the communities they serve,” said Thomas in an e-mailed statement. “Over time it could also help government, banks themselves, community banks and the third sector plug the gaps in the market for access to financial services.”
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