Local Banks Snub Assembly Committee Over Meeting

Session: 2008/2009

Date: 03 December 2008

Reference: F&P 02/08/09

Local banks have decided not to meet with the Committee for Finance and Personnel, the Committee has revealed today.

The Committee was looking forward to discussing the steps the banking sector can take to help alleviate the impact of the current economic slowdown in Northern Ireland.

The Committee Chairperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, explained, “Given the seriousness and urgency of the current slowdown, the Committee had hoped that the four main local banks would be eager to meet with it urgently. We had hoped that they would come to our next meeting on 10 December, to discuss a range of practical measures to help local businesses and the economy generally.

“However, rather than meeting the Committee directly the banks have chosen to use the conduit of the British Bankers Association, which is unavailable until late January 2009.

“We will be writing to the banks to express our disappointment and our concern at the weakness in the local communication mechanism for the banking sector in NI.”

Issues that the Committee are particularly concerned with include passing on base rate cuts to mortgage customers, the cost of loans and overdrafts. the level of fees and charges; calling in loans to businesses and mortgage difficulties and repossessions.


Notes for Editors
  1. The Committee for Finance and Personnel is one of 11 Statutory Committees of the Northern Ireland Assembly, which are set up to advise and assist each Northern Ireland Minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within his/her responsibilities as a Minister. Statutory Committees have powers as described in Strand One of the Belfast Agreement i.e. a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the department with which each is associated, together with a role in the initiation of legislation.
  2. As per paragraph 9 of Strand One of the Belfast Agreement, Statutory Committees have the power to:
  • consider and advise on departmental budgets and annual plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
  • approve relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee stage of relevant primary legislation;
  • call for persons and papers;
  • initiate inquiries and make reports; and
  • consider and advise on matters brought to the Committee by its minister.
  1. Committee Members: 
    Mitchel McLaughlin (Chairperson) (Sinn Fein) 
    Simon Hamilton (Deputy Chairperson) (DUP) 
    Dr Stephen Farry ( Alliance) 
    Fra McCann (Sinn Fein) 
    Jennifer McCann (Sinn Fein) 
    David McNarry (UUP) 
    Adrian McQuillan (DUP) 
    Declan O’Loan (SDLP) 
    Ian Paisley Jnr (DUP) 
    Dawn Purvis (PUP) 
    Peter Weir (DUP)

Media enquiries should be addressed to: 
Debra Savage, Press Officer, Press Office, Parliament Buildings, Belfast BT4 3XX 

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