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Scrapped SME Banking Report Ignites Firestorm

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The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has decided not to publish a long-anticipated report on the state of small business banking for the nation’s largest financial institutions, a decision that has angered some SME advocates, according to reports published Thursday (Dec. 31).

[bctt tweet=”The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has decided not to publish a long-anticipated report.”]

According to Business Insider, it only took a few hours until the political firestorm arose after the FCA announced its decision.

Conservative MP Mark Garnier slammed the decision as a “Machiavellian plot,” one involving cooperation between government regulators and the banks. The SME Alliance, a group advocating for small business customers of major U.K. banks, said that it is considering applying for a judicial review of the FCA’s decision, according to reports.

The group’s cofounder, Nikki Turner, stated that while applying for a judicial review “is not something you go into lightly,” it may be the only decision for the group.

“When I heard the news, I was gobsmacked and really disappointed,” Turner told reporters. Another SME Alliance founder, Nick Gould, told reporters he was “disturbed” by the FCA’s choice, adding that the group is “definitely” going to consider pursuing a judicial review of the matter.

The SME Alliance reportedly has nearly 400 members.

In a statement, the FCA said that the best way to assess the culture of financial services in the U.K. “is to engage individually with firms to encourage their delivery of cultural change, as well as supporting the other initiatives outside the FCA.” The regulator will be consulting with the financial institutions privately to assess their treatment of small business customers, reports said.

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