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FLA seeks clarity on lending schemes
The UK’s Finance & Leasing Association is meeting with recently appointed government ministers to seek clarity on the role of asset finance in the government’s credit easing schemes.
Stephen Sklaroff, the FLA director general, was invited to meet with Jo Swinson, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs, and Michael Fallon, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, who both took up positions as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle last month.
Sklaroff will speak with Fallon about the lending on offer from all FLA members and how they can fit in with government lending programmes such as Funding for Lending and the “SME bank” recently touted by Business Secretary Vince Cable.
Currently non-bank lenders cannot take advantage of cheap funding from the Bank of England available through Funding for Lending and few details have emerged about the government-backed bank other than it will operate through to existing lenders to lend an initial figure of £1bn.
Sklaroff will also discuss consumer credit issues in a separate meeting with Swinson.
Sklaroff told delegates at the FLA’s 20th anniversary drinks reception in London the invitations from the ministers were indicative of the growing influence the trade body has in Westminster.
He said: “The breadth and depth of our membership – which covers banks and non-banks, captives and independents, and large and small lenders of all types in almost every lending market, has put us in a unique position to influence the Government, the OFT, the FSA, the HMRC, Brussels and a host of other agencies on a huge variety of issues.
“In the last week alone we’ve received invitations from two different Ministers to discuss the role of asset finance in the small business sector and the Government’s plans for a new system of credit regulation.
“Because of our diverse membership, we are able to tell the Government things they would not hear from elsewhere – and that is making a real difference to the debate.”