In Business growth and finance, Funding

The future of regional banking will be the focus of an event that has attracted high profile national banking and finance experts to the Baltic on Friday 7 June.

It will include presentations from 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.

They will be speaking alongside 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; Gary Wilkinson, [email protected] Bank; Sarah Green, Director, North East CBI and Dr Thomas Keidel, Director and Head of Financial Market Relations, Deutscher Sparkassen.

The event has been organised by IPPR North with support from the North East LEP and the Financial Services Forum.

Anthony Thomson will reveal the issues and challenges he faced in launching Metro Bank and offer observations on the new regulatory landscape. He will also discuss whether the future lies in new regional banks, dealing solely with regionally-based businesses, organisations and individuals, or new banks that happen to be based in regions?

Victoria Raffe of the Financial Conduct Authority will talk about the FCA’s role in the new regulatory framework, what the FCA’s competition and consumer protection objectives mean in practice, and how they have to be balanced when considering applications.

Jeremy Middleton, chair of the North East LEP’s investment panel will discuss the North East’s access to finance, including bank and asset finance, venture capital funding and working capital funding.

Sam Woods of the Prudential Regulatory Authority, which was launched in April 2013 as one of the successors to the Financial Services Authority, will look at banking competition issues and regional banks, and at the wider regulatory backdrop.

Gary Wilkinson of Cambridge and Counties Bank will explain the remit of this business bank, launched last year to focus on providing loans to, and receiving deposits from, SMEs. He will discuss the challenges of authorisation as a new player andthe bank’s progress, including its customer experiences during the last year.

Banking Minister Greg Clark MP, Sarah Green of the North East CBI and Dr Thomas Keidel of Deutscher Sparkassen will also be speaking.

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

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.

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.”

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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