The last of the Halifax Minster special series of debates focused on banking and the economy in a panel and public discussion.
The Monday night discussion featured guest speaker and Halifax Commercial Bank’s group director David Nicholson who discussed the big industry under scrutiny, currently.
He was joined by Steve Leigh from Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Vicky Atkinson of Riley and Co accountants, Halifax, and Calderdale College Principal Chris Jones.
Mr Nicholson and the panel answered audience questions on banking practices and ethics as well as the traditional role of the bank in a contemporary society.
Mr Nicholson said banks are economic entities which support the economy and therefore encourages good banking.
“In the good times we can see banks did the wrong things for many years,” he said.
Because of the nature of banking, clear regulation is needed, he said.
Asked why banks got it wrong time and time again, Mr Nicholson said competition conflicted with consistency and risks taken by banks need to be learnt from.
Panel guest Mr Leigh said: “Banks are accused of being risk averse and not lending enough - it’s a fine balance between excessive lending and hoarding. We hope they get it right as it’s so important for our local economy.”
One member of the public asked ‘whoever thought it was a good idea to get rid of the traditional and local bank manager’?
Mrs Atkinson said the local bank manager who knew their customer was lost a long time ago but a shift back towards local banking has been witnessed over the last two years.
Asked about the role of Lloyds in Calderdale, Mr Nicholson said it supports local causes such as Ravenscliffe High School, Halifax, and Home-Start as well as hosting their Giving Extra Awards - praising key members of the community.
Mr Jones said: “In Halifax we’re lucky to have a bank that puts into its town. Banks are critical to the wellbeing of community - effective banks bring social stability.”
The evening was chaired by the Bishop of Pontefract Revd Tony Robinson who thanked guests for attending. Minster series will return in Autumn.