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Lending Standards Board announces independent review of The Lending Code

18 June 2010

The Lending Standards Board (LSB) has announced that an independent review of the Lending Code will commence on 18 June. Professor Lorne Crerar has been appointed to undertake the review.

The Lending Code, launched in 2009, incorporates the credit and debt provisions of the old Banking and Business Banking Codes. The review will seek comments from all interested stakeholders on the content of the Code which sets standards of good practice in relation to personal unsecured loans, credit cards and overdrafts and lending to micro-enterprises. A revised Code will be published in March 2011.

Professor Crerar will shortly be writing to all major stakeholders to request views on any gaps or deficiencies in the current Code which it is felt should be remedied to ensure the Code continues to provide consumers with appropriate levels of protection. The consultation is open to everyone and details of how to submit comments can be found on the LSB website and the websites of the Code sponsors: the BBA, BSA and The UK Cards Association.

Commenting on the review, Gerard Lemos, Chairman of the Lending Standards Board said:

“Self-regulation through the Banking Codes and now the Lending Code has served banking consumers well for nearly 20 years. An important feature of the regime has been the regular independent reviews which have ensured that the Codes remain fit for purpose. We are glad to have secured someone of the calibre and experience of Professor Crerar to undertake this latest review.”

Professor Crerar said:

“I am delighted to have been appointed as Independent Reviewer of the Lending Code. Responsible lending and the fair treatment of customers in financial difficulties are important to society’s well being and I would strongly encourage anyone who wishes to make their voice heard to contribute to this review so that we will be able to deliver an updated Code that fully reflects the needs and concerns of customers.”

Angela Knight, Chief Executive of the BBA, said:

“We believe that Professor Crerar is an excellent choice to undertake the review given his long experience in banking law and practice and his independence. The BBA, BSA, The UK Cards Association and their members remain committed to the Lending Code as a piece of self-regulation that demonstrates good credit industry practice. The Code sponsors look forward to working with Professor Crerar to ensure that the Code reflects current developments.”

Media contacts:

Robert Skinner - 020 7012 0085
robertskinner@lstdb.org.uk
Website: www.lendingstandardsboard.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

About Professor Crerar

Professor Lorne Crerar is Chairman of Harper Macleod, a leading commercial law firm in Scotland which won Firm of the Year at the Scottish Legal Awards 2010. He is the firm’s Senior Banking Law Partner. Since 1979, Professor Crerar has lectured at the University of Glasgow and was appointed Chair of Banking in 1994. He also provided and taught the Honours course in Banking Law for Strathclyde University

Throughout his career, Professor Crerar has chaired several independent reviews, including one on Regulations, Audit, Inspection and Complaints Handling in the Public Sector in Scotland (“The Crerar Review”). The review was published in September 2007 and almost all of the 43 substantive recommendations have been implemented by the Scottish Government. Outside of banking, Professor Crerar was one of three Chairmen of the Housing Improvement Task Force set up by the Scottish Government. He is generally credited as the architect of the Home Report System which became operational in law in Scotland on 1st December 2008.

Professor Crerar is the author of “The Law of Banking in Scotland”, which is recognised by many as being the leading text in Scotland. He was also commissioned author for the leading Scottish text Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia for financial institutions, banking and currency.

About the Lending Code and the LSB

The Lending Code is co-sponsored by the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association and The UK Cards Association. The Lending Code is a voluntary code of good practice followed by all major providers of personal loans, credit cards and charge cards and current account overdrafts. The Code also covers lending to micro-enterprises and small charities.

The review of the Code is being overseen by the Lending Standards Board, which independently monitors and enforces the Code and takes action where lenders fall short of the Code’s standards. The LSB’s directors include a majority of independent members as well as representatives of the Code sponsors. Details of the Board members can be found on the LSB website (www.lendingstandardsboard.org.uk/staffdirectors.htm).

The Banking Code, which formerly set out the relationship between financial service providers and their customers, ceased to operate in November 2009 following the introduction of new Banking Conduct of Business rules by the FSA. The last full review of the Banking Code was undertaken in 2007 and the current review thus maintains the triennial Code review cycle.

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