Brokers relaxed about bank plans

By Nicolette Botbol

Brokers say an increasing number of high street bank branches will not affect them and that consumers will stick with intermediaries if they want best advice.

The Forum of Private Business has welcomed moves to bring banks back to high streets. Major banks including Halifax, HSBC and Abbey say they will spend millions of pounds opening at least 50 branches each.

Andy Mowlah, banking expert at the FPB, says: “This is great news for small business owners. But we will wait and see if these banks really open more local branches after years of closures.”

Jonathan Burridge, managing director of Quantum Group, says: “More bank branches does not mean more risk to brokers as banks still control lending decisions centrally. This may be the first sign of banks’ acceptance that call centres aren’t as good as the personal touch.”

Melanie Bien, associate director at Savills Private Finance, says: “The opening of branches won’t affect brokers much, particularly at the top end which deals with complex mortgage issues.”