The banking industry must win back the trust of small business customers to reverse a slowdown in growth in areas they have abandoned, Martin Whitfield told fellow MPs today.

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate he co-sponsored on failures in the banking sector, Mr Whitfield said:

“The industry has failed personal banking customers in quite obvious ways through the inconvenience of losing branches and ATMs. But what small business customers have lost is trust. And as the banks have abandoned them, it is clear some entrepreneurs are abandoning the banks in favour of alternative funding models.

“Exciting as those alternatives may be, they are certainly not for everyone, and the short-term result in the places worst hit by closures, such as my own constituency of East Lothian, is a marked slowdown in the growth of the small business sector.

“That is not because the people of East Lothian lack entrepreneurial vision. Far from it. But they are trying to do business while facing the uphill challenge of securing accessible finance solutions. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, an economy that needs a trustworthy banking system to support them and help them to prosper.”