Wednesday 22 April 2020 5:02 pm

UK banks slammed by Tory backbencher for not acting in national interest

Save our SMEs

The UK’s banking sector has been criticised for not working in the national interest as some banks move to rapidly raise overdraft interest fees.

Tory backbencher Peter Bone slammed the nation’s banks at today’s Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) for hiking interest rates on overdrafts while many struggle during the coronavirus crisis.

Read more: David Buik: Tories could lose next election over coronavirus loans delays

Some banks have increased overdraft interest fees to up to 49.9 per cent in the past month.

These changes were planned before the coronavirus outbreak.

“Banks are charging 20 per cent interest per year which they’re going to increase to 40 per cent in July,” Bone said.

“At the same time they’re offering savers pathetic interest rates of 0.1 per cent.

“These are the same banks that were saved with billions and billions of pounds of taxpayers money.

“What on earth is going on? When are the banks going to act in the national interest?”

First secretary Dominic Raab, filling in for Boris Johnson, defended the banks’ efforts during the coronavirus crisis.

“The major banks and building societies have provided relief to those impacted by coronavirus, including deferring mortgage and other loan repayments,” he said.

“In this national effort…we certainlty expect the banks to do their bit.”

Read more: Exclusive: Businesses call for bank-by-bank breakdown of coronavirus lending

There has also been much concern about banks not lending out enough money as a part of the government’s business loan schemes.

There has been just 12,000 loan approvals through the scheme, almost one month after opening.