Chief Executive newsletter - April 2024

This month we share an update from our Economic Crime Information and Intelligence Unit on the work they have been doing to detect and prevent fraud and financial crime as well as launching our report on Variable Recurring Payments (VRPs) Model Clauses and latest figures from our Monthly Economic Insights report.

Supporting consumers and businesses 

Following feedback from members, we have submitted a response to the Prudential Regulatory Authority’s (PRA) consultation on its approach to policy. The PRA is reviewing how it approaches its policy work in light of the new powers it has received via the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 to make and review regulatory rules. While we welcome the progress the PRA has made since its Discussion Paper in December 2022, there remain a number of issues with its proposed approach which our consultation response highlights. 

Peter Tyler, our Director of Personal Banking, appeared on the Which? money podcast: ‘can banking hubs save our access to cash in the UK?’ With almost 6,000 bank branches closing since 2015, he joins the discussion on the move to online banking services and how legislation could work to protect our access to physical cash.

Delivering a high growth economy 

We published our response to the FCA’s enforcement guidance CP24-2. Specifically on changes to its Enforcement Guide and the publishing of enforcement investigations. Whilst we supported the FCA’s aims of greater transparency and cutting down the time it takes to conclude enforcement investigations we emphatically rejected its proposal to announce the opening of an enforcement investigation and the name the firm involved.  

Our monthly Economic Insights report highlighted the latest deliberation from the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and provided a preview of UK Finance’s new Buy-to-Let data dashboard.

We held a roundtable discussion with our members and the Shadow Minister for Investment and Business, Rushanara Ali, on ‘Enabling start-ups and scale ups – how SME lending can drive economic growth’. Chaired by our Managing Director for Commercial Finance, David Raw, this was an insightful discussion about supporting SMEs as the engine of economic growth.

Keeping the financial system safe 

Last year, Our Don’t Be Fooled campaign launched a set of educational resources aimed to deter young people and students from becoming money mules. Working with iChild we launched a pilot programme of teaching resources aimed at primary and secondary school pupils. The pilot was a success and the resources have now been awarded the Financial Education Quality Mark by Young Money. This mark indicates educational materials of the highest educational value, containing accurate and up-to-date information and are engaging and relevant for young people.

This month our Economic Crime Information & Intelligence Unit, reported that a potential loss of £300,000 was prevented by a member bank off the back of a single piece of intelligence shared on an industry call. The Unit has also been working in close partnership with the Cyber Defence Alliance (CDA) and the Metropolitan Police, and led on the dissemination of compromised consumer data to our members that were harvested by criminals of the website called LabHost. It was reported that 37 suspects have been arrested across the world to date and hundreds of thousands of consumer details have been recovered. Additionally in the month of March, the unit shared the details over 94,000 compromised cards to members, enabling banks to prevent customers becoming victims of fraud. 

Transitioning to net zero

Promoting our advocacy asks on the mobilisation of capital for the Net Zero transition, we held a roundtable with HM Treasury, the Department for Energy Security and members to discuss public-private financing opportunities. We also held a series of sessions, alongside the Rocky Mountain Institute, for seven members to develop solutions for financing decarbonisation of high-emitting sectors.

In the coming months, we are developing further opportunities for members to meet with senior political leaders ahead of the General Election. 

Enabling digital innovation

This month we featured a blog post highlighting challenges UK financial institutions are facing when it comes to investing in Artificial Intelligence. With an increase in worldwide cyberattacks there is a spotlight on cybersecurity and the need for robust defences against fraud, privacy invasions, and misinformation.

We launched our Variable Recurring Payments (VRPs) Model Clauses in association with Addleshaw Goddard. The new arrangements are a significant step in the further development of Variable Recurring Payments. The key objectives of the model clauses include driving competition, increasing efficiencies by removing some of the transaction cost of bilateral negotiations between payment providers, ensuring banking customers have a consistent experience on important matters such as safety, security and assurance to provide customers with the confidence to use VRPs for commercial applications. For more information, read the report.

Upcoming events

Covering issues, such as the SME regulatory perimeter, trends in global politics and economics, trends in insolvency and restructuring, building business resilience and the future of data, digital money and AI for small businesses.

Topics include; the threats and opportunities of AI in economic crime; regulatory change and scrutiny; and preparation for the APP reimbursement requirement coming into force in October.

Our Learning Hub hosts the IF/ABL interactive courses, as well as the Foundation, Certificate and Diploma qualifications to help grow and develop your knowledge in the industry. 

Further information of all networking events, conferences, and training opportunities can be found on our website.

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