UK lending still needs work, says regulator

The head of the UK financial services watchdog has spoken out about the challenges of regulating a sector keen to get back to lending.

In an interview with Professor Justin O’Brien as part of The Future of Financial Regulation series for the Centre for International Finance and Regulation (CIFR), Financial Conduct Authority chief executive Martin Wheatley said the UK lending sector is not yet as safe and secure as it needs to be.

“We do want people to lend and we want credit to be available, and all of this regulatory baggage and focus on conduct and rules is stopping us doing that,” Mr Wheatley said.

In April, new mortgage regulations were introduced in the UK that mean a majority of mortgage applications are now completed on a fully-advised basis.

“We do want people to get back to lending and we do want banking to serve the industry, but we want to serve it in a clean way,” Mr Wheatley said.

“So in essence the issue for us is achieving that balance.”

Mr Wheatley said the FCA’s issue is how to allow banking to deliver to society what it needs to do in a way that is safe and secure.

“We are not quite at that stage yet,” he said.

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