On 16th April the Dispute Resolution Team at MBM staged a conference at the Merchants Hall in Edinburgh designed to look at the changing banking landscape and the challenges ahead for banks and SMEs alike. Cat MacLean who heads up the DR team introduced leading industry experts including the pre-eminent silk, Roddy Dunlop QC who acted for Derek Carlyle in his landmark win against RBS in the Supreme Court; Dr Parker Hood from Edinburgh University; Derek Weir, formerly Managing Director of Corporate Banking at RBS and MD of Commercial Banking in Scotland for Barclays, now Non-Executive Director of the Co-op Bank; Stewart Thom, Customer Security Business partner with RBS who specialises in promoting awareness of security and fraud related risks to customers; and Fraser Lusty of LendingCrowd, Scotland’s first dedicated peer-to-peer business crowdlender.
Some key messages that emerged were that the courts have traditionally been too protective of banks and until the Carlyle decision seemingly unprepared to look at disputes from a customer’s perspective. With the Carlyle decision finding unanimously in favour of the property developer, however, it may be that the tide is now turning!
Derek Weir spoke of the way that banks, whilst urging banks to lend to SMEs, had been strangled by regulation, and this was echoed by Parker Hood in his talk. Derek Weir also looked at the lack of morale in banking currently and the challenges for the banks to recruit the right people; staff lacked guidance and were struggling with high targets whilst being hampered by regulation.
Stewart Thom presented a sobering picture of the ease with which ever-increasing fraud schemes are managing to access large sums of money and discussed the steps which can be taken to tackle online fraud. Finally with the UK alternative finance market expected to grow to around £4.4 billion in 2015, it was timely to hear from Fraser Lusty who outlined the development of the crowd funding market, and the shape of things to come. You can read more about the conference here.