Bankers Get Further Executive Grilling

Senior executives from Barclays Bank were in the frame earlier this week as NI's political leaders continued their engagement with leading financial institutions.

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness also met today with executives from the Progressive Building Society and further meetings are planned with other major lenders.

Mr McGuinness said: "The First Minister and I are determined to do all we can to ensure that the financial institutions operating here are working in the best interests of local customers, at both personal banking and business banking levels.

"These meetings are part of our wider effort, which includes the establishment of the Cross Sectoral Advisory Forum, to ensure the Executive's policies and actions reflect the economic conditions being experienced in the wider community.

"We have been heartened by the willingness of the financial institutions to work with us in this process, which we intend to continue," he said.

Commenting on the continued series of meetings Mr Robinson said: "These meetings provide us with the opportunity to convey first-hand the difficulties households are facing in the depressed housing market in the current economic climate.

"We are still concerned about reports that credit may not be getting to local businesses despite the positive messages that the banks have conveyed to us," he said, noting that they hoped that a continued commitment is shown to lending to local businesses and that this will lead to an expansion of use of the government guarantee schemes to boost lending.


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