Sunday 14 August 2016 7:27 pm

Bank of England considers easing challenger burdens

The Bank of England is considering easing regulatory burdens on challenger banks, amid increasing pressure from the small lenders.

Challengers are concerned about capital requirements imposed on them, which they say disadvantage them to bigger players and stop them from being able to offer loans and credits to small business.

There was anger among the challengers when a Competition and Markets Authority report last week failed to tackle the issue.

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But there are hopes that Brexit could allow the Bank to adjust capital requirements, which are currently imposed by Brussels.

City A.M. understands discussions on the subject have taken place between the Bank and the challengers, though no decisions have been taken.

“Brexit provides scope for the Bank of England to adopt the US approach to bank capital and allow a more proportionate approach to the regulation of those banks that are not systemic or internationally active,” Secure Trust chief executive Paul Lynam told City A.M.

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“The Bank of England/Prudential Regulation Authority have been calling for a more proportionate approach and I hope they take full advantage of Brexit to create a truly level, competitive playing field for all banks regardless of size.”

Vernon Hill, chairman of Metro Bank, told City A.M.: “This is an issue that has been going on for some time.

“I think the Bank of England does know that the playing field is not fair right now. And, frankly, I’m not surprised that they’re trying to correct this problem.”

Andy Golding, chief executive of OneSavings Bank, said: “We have heard words of support before, this time as long as we see some tangible action that makes a difference, this will show real support for challengers to the big brands.”

The Bank of England declined to comment.