Lenders must rein in profit ambitions

Although this week the country\'s eyes are very much on analysing the government\'s housing stimulation package and the chancellor\'s Budget measures, it\'s worth remembering that it\'s not only central fiscal policy that can lift the UK from its financial malaise.

We should be demanding more from our banks and building societies to get us back on track – with a return to common sense and prudence.

We could also do with brave product innovation and scrapping excessive administration fees. Although fees are an integral element of the price mix and are used to offset interest rates, their high threshold is a barrier to progress.

Punters can’t afford to absorb a hefty fee, whereas a slightly higher interest rate is tomorrow’s problem, so can be worried about then.

We also know that broad government initiatives, while making attractive sound bites, are largely an illusory comfort and do precious little when it comes to bolstering consumer confidence, which holds the key to recovery.

But accessible and affordable mortgages make a huge difference. Property prices are on the increase around the country as are the number of mortgage approvals.

By reining in their profit ambitions until the recovery is in better shape to make them sustainable, lenders will not only be making amends for some of the profligacy that got us into this mess, but will be giving the public and institutions a confidence boost.