In Business growth and finance, Funding

A high profile event on Tyneside will debate the future of regional banking – a subject seen as central to a radical reform of UK banking.

The event will bring together the founder of the only new entrant to the retail banking market and the government minister leading the drive to encourage local banks, together with senior financial regulators, a director of Deutscher Sparkassen, the German savings bank, and local businesses. It will take place at the Baltic Centre, Gateshead Quays on Friday 7 June.

Anthony Thomson, founder and former chairman of Metro Bank, the first new bank on the high street in over 100 years, and Greg Clark MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, will speak about the challenges and opportunities of creating a new bank which will deal solely with regionally-based businesses, organisations and individuals. The event has been organised by IPPR North with support from the North East LEP and the Financial Services Forum.

The Adonis Economic Review, commissioned by the North East LEP, recommended that the LEP area should explore the potential for the establishment of a regional business bank to meet the needs of local companies.

Alongside Anthony Thomson and Greg Clark MP, speakers at the event include Sam Woods, Director, Domestic UK Banks Division, Prudential Regulatory Authority; Victoria Raffe, Director, Authorisations, Financial Conduct Authority; Jeremy Middleton, chair of the North East LEP’s investment panel; Sarah Green, Director North East CBI and Dr Thomas Keidel, Director and Head of Financial Market Relations, Deutscher Sparkassen.

The speakers will also answer questions from the audience in a panel chaired by Guy Opperman MP, to discuss the pros and cons of regional banking.

Anthony Thomson, who revolutionised retail banking when he founded Metro Bank, believes that the UK needs to enter into a new era of banking competition. Regional banks could offer more competition, consumer choice, credit for companies, stimulate growth and help rebalance the economy.

The North East LEP is supporting the event, and Jeremy Middleton, chair of the LEP’s investment panel, is a strong advocate for a North East based bank.

He said: “Access to finance across the North East LEP area is seen as a barrier to growth by many businesses. We want to encourage expansion of growing companies. A regional bank would understand the needs of the region and be able to react effectively, unblocking financial bottlenecks that frustrate business owners.”

“I’m delighted that Anthony Thomson and Greg Clark – both originally from the North East – are actively involved in debating this important topic. Regional banking is identified as a recommendation by the Adonis review to help local businesses large and small access finance efficiently.”

Banking Minister Greg Clark recently said: “I should like very much to see banks in our great regional cities, as used to be the case: banks that can take deposits from local people and, knowing what local investment opportunities they have in the area, can establish a connection.”

Director of IPPR North Ed Cox said: “We are really pleased to be organising this event with colleagues from across the North East. Regional banks could play a key role in stimulating local economic development and rebalancing our national economy. As our report ‘Northern Prosperity is National Prosperity’ showed – the north has a huge economic contribution to make and regional banks are a great way to drive this.”

The event is free and will take place from 10.30am-2.30pm including a buffet lunch at the Baltic Centre, Gateshead on Friday 7 June. Anyone interested in attending should e-mail Jacqueline Wills via [email protected] Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Further information from Christine Holland, Holland PR & Marketing Ltd Tel 01670 790246 or 07711 698246. Email: [email protected]

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