The UK is leading the US by pushing lenders to promote alternatives. Skeptics think that the big-four's dominance, leaves little for emerging lenders. Really?
But any such expediency could well be wiped out by the fact that this system will leave the alternative providers looking like also-rans. The UK’s big four banks – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland – control some 85 per cent of business current accounts and 90 per cent of business loans. They will still get first crack at grabbing the best SME customers, and can comfortably pass on the rest knowing that the new referral system will shield them from the worst of any criticism. In this scenario, FinTechs are not viable alternatives, but rather are cast as the lenders of last resort. Payday lending is not the image anyone aspires to for this sector. The Chancellor was very clear on this point at the launch of Innovate Finance, declaring that the UK should become a “world leader” in this emerging field. “We will ensure a regulatory environment that gives FinTech companies and alternative finance lenders the ability to innovate,” he said before promising an additional £100 million of funding for the sector.