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MPC eases concerns over Funding for Lending scheme

The Bank of England's efforts to boost lending to businesses in the UK hasn't been significantly hampered by the unique make up of the banking world in Northern Ireland, according to a member of the central bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

Spencer Dale said the Funding for Lending (FFL) scheme has been open to any bank or building society operating in Northern Ireland which has a "relationship" with the central bank, regardless of provenance.

"You don't have to be a UK bank," he told The Belfast Telegraph.

"It is open to any bank which has the appropriate type of relationship with the Bank of England."

Concerns had been raised that the FFL hasn't been as effective in Northern Ireland as other regions of the UK because banks headquartered in other jurisdictions – such as Bank of Ireland, First Trust and Danske Bank – are responsible for a large proportion of lending here, rather than in England, Scotland or Wales, where UK-headquartered banks make up the majority of the banking world.

"I know there were some issues where it worked less well for some of the banks here but in general it's been a big improvement," Mr Dale said.

"It's not because of their parentage.

"As long as they have the right relationship with the Bank of England in terms of having the right settlement accounts (then the banks can use the FFL).

"The key thing is they are lending to the UK economy."

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Belfast Telegraph