According to Jo Harris, Managing Director, Lloyds Community Bank of those SME businesses making applications under the CBIL scheme “a high proportion don’t qualify and are being rejected” because they don’t meet the Government’s criteria. That will come as a surprise to the Government, given that the scheme was designed to help those very customers.

What Ms Harris also said is that MaPAs will be trained in lending and interviewing to help commercial banking customers. This new role is currently being piloted and the exact details of what MaPAs are going to be doing and how they will be doing it will be announced shortly. What the bank is proposing looks like a completely new role and to throw MaPAs in at the deep end, doesn’t seem very sensible, either for the bank or, more importantly, for them. We would expect this new role to be home based with customer interviews carried out digitally. Relationship managers are working from home and so should those MaPAs.

When we have more information about the bank’s proposal we will write to MaPAs separately.

One of the suggestions we have made to help Commercial Banking cope with the unprecedented volume of work is to ask those relationship managers who have recently retired or taken redundancy to return to work on a voluntary basis to help out. We have written to Rt Hon Mel Stride, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, saying: Such a scheme would take some of the pressure off current staff and will allow loans to get to the people that need them more quickly. If all the banks did the same then it could potentially be a game changer.

Given that for many SMEs time is running out, it might be something that your Committee wants to address directly with all the firms involved in the CBIL scheme”.

A full copy of the union’s letter to Mr Stride can be found on our website.

Protective Screens Not Fit For Purpose

Members are telling us that the new protective screens, which were distributed to all branches a few weeks ago, are too small and not fit for purpose. The screens are not particularly well designed and because they don’t cover the full width of the counter position, customers are able to pass cash or cheques around the side of the screen directly to the member of staff, which defeats the object of having the protective screen in the first place. In some case, the screens have actually fallen on customers and members of staff.

The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has now said that even after the lockdown has been lifted, social restrictions will continue for the remainder of the year. The bank should be carrying out on-site inspections of all branches now with the aim of making sure that the current social distancing guidelines are being followed and producing individually tailored protection screens fit for all the till positions. If those inspections are carried out now, then there is no reason why new screens can’t be in position ready for the summer.

Members with any comments or issues they would like us to deal should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).

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