Belfast Telegraph

Banks trying to improve their customer relations

By Clare Weir

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has met banking representatives and the Institute of Directors, to discuss actions they are taking to improve access to business finance and customer relationships.

The British Bankers Association, Barclays, Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland, First Trust Bank, Northern Bank, Santander and HSBC all took part in the talks.

Mr Wilson said the financial crisis and subsequent recession have changed the context for business finance forever and strained the relationships between the banks, businesses and the wider public.

“We must move on from this,” he said. “Our recovery is dependent on having a banking sector that meets the needs of both businesses and consumers here.

“In October this year the British Bankers’ Association published their Business Finance Task Force Report that identified a range of specific recommendations that UK banks could take to help businesses get the advice and support they need, to provide wider access to finance and to deliver better customer service.

“This meeting was arranged in conjunction with the Institute of Directors and we discussed how best to implement the recommendations that are most appropriate for Northern Ireland.

“I am pleased that the banks reported that they have already started to identify the key recommendations and will report back with further progress when we meet again in late January 2011.”

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