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NEF: Banks must go clear

22 December 2006
Britain's banks should be compelled to disclose more information about their consumer lending, a new report from the think-tank New Economics Foundation argues.

The report argues the move would turn the spotlight on lending in deprived areas, looking at performance in providing accessible branches and basic bank accounts in order to establish who banks still leave outside their purview.

The report, co-authored with the US Woodstock Institute, draws inspiration from the American system, where the Community Reinvestment Act ensures that banks reveal lending practices in less affluent areas.

In the American system, where broad 'social banking needs' are considered, "detailed and meaningful analysis can be carried out with the information that US banks disclose by area, which in turn can be used to combat financial exclusion", the report claims.

The Treasury's financial inclusion agenda was mapped out in the Banking the Unbanked report last month.

The Select Committee report commits the government to improving financial education and building financial capability.

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