U.K. Banks Make Deal to Publish Detailed Local Lending Data

The U.K. government struck a deal with the main retail banks to provide local detail of their lending to businesses.

Seven lenders, which make up about 80 percent of company lending, will provide data on 10,000 postal codes, allowing the government to target where there are gaps, the Treasury in London said in an e-mailed statement today.

“From next year businesses will be able to see exactly where the major banks are lending -- up to within a few streets of their premises,” Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said in the statement. “It is a major step forward in terms of transparency and should encourage competition by helping smaller lenders to identify gaps in the market and allowing businesses to hold their local bank to account where they aren’t lending.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable used an interview in the Financial Times published today to criticize Bank of England policy makers, whom he labeled a “capital Taliban” for imposing burdens on banks that are limiting lending.

They are “imposing restrictions which at this delicate stage of recovery actually make it more difficult for companies to operate and expand,” Cable said, according to the newspaper.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Lloyds Banking Group Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc, Barclays Plc, Banco Santander SA, Nationwide Building Society and National Australia Bank Ltd.’s Yorkshire and Clydesdale units have signed up to the transparency program, the Treasury said.

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