The banker strikes back

By Alex Stevenson

Lloyds chairman Peter Leverne has hit out against politicians for instigating “knee-jerk reactions” against the City.

Lord Leverne warned that “pandering to populist outrage” or making changes “driven by ideological opportunism” risked undermining the recovery of Britain’s financial services sector and the City.

These brands, he said, had been “battered and bruised” but pressed that their fundamental importance remains.

UK financial services employ more than one million people and account for around eight per cent of national output. They contribute 14 per cent of total tax revenues to the Treasury.

While acknowledging that significant change in both the regulation and governance of the banking industry is needed, Lord Leverne pressed that the phenomenon had been global as well as British.

“It is certainly not a reason for politicians and policymakers to start undermining the UK financial sector – which is one of this country’s great national assets,” he said, speaking to the Lloyd’s City dinner last night.

“There is a very real danger that we shall end up doing irreparable damage to one of the strongest sectors of our economy.”

He attacked those, including politicians, for making the “nonsensical” suggestion that the financial sector is oversized.

Lord Leverne concluded that the City and UK Financial services’ fundamental strengths remained.

“In the competitive world in which we all operate, it is vital we take the right steps to restore these brands to their former glory,” he finished.