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Banks face ‘generational test’ ahead of a recession

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 06 Sep 2022

The conduct of the banking sector has changed substantially since the 2007/2008 financial crisis. But will fintech competition be enough to prevent the industry repeating the sins of the past, asks Daniel Lanyon?

Arrears are creeping up in the unsecured loans and credit card market with mortgage payments likely to also follow the trend, according to Equifax.

With a recession predicted by the Bank of England for later this year, amid soaring inflation predictions, the UK’s financial regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is – true to its name – increasingly concerned with the conduct of banks.

While the malpractices that led to and exacerbated the misery of the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 have largely not been repeated, the FCA is concerned, penning a volley of ‘Dear CEO’ letters to banking bosses this summer to warn them to keep up standards.

“Clearly a lot has changed since the financial crisis, much of that due to regulation, but also thanks to the fintech revolution and the creation of some competition in the market,” says Rich Wagner, Founder and CEO of Cashplus Bank, a lender launched on the eve of the financial crisis and which recently secured a full licence to operate as a bank.

“This is a real positive change but there is still a long way to go due to the scale and systemic nature of the UK’s legacy banks and we certainly continue to see certain segments of the market being poorly served, which is where we and other digital challengers can make a real difference,” he adds.

While much has changed in the banking world in terms of technology, the FCA’s focus on how banks and bankers behave as the economic situation worsens, suggests it believes people have not.

You can read more on this from the Financial Services Faculty here: Banking: All eyes on conduct 

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