FT.com / UK – Darling threatens banks over loans

Via FT.com / UK – Darling threatens banks over loans.

Ministers have warned Britain’s banks to increase the supply of affordable loans to businesses or face the threat of a competition probe if evidence of market failure emerges.

Alistair Darling, chancellor, has ordered ministers to hold a series of one-to-one meetings with bank chiefs through August to establish whether margins and fees have risen excessively on loans to small and medium-sized companies.

The bosses of seven major banks were told on Monday that ministers would leave “no stone unturned” and could present their research to the Office of Fair Trading if there was a suspicion that competition was not working effectively.