According to Britain’s chief financial conduct regulator, the coronavirus pandemic is posing the first serious test of business banking rules that were implemented after the financial crisis.

Chris Woolard, interim chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said that his office is closely monitoring how banks are managing the rollout of the UK government’s COVID-19 emergency loan scheme.  While most commercial lending takes place “on the other side of the regulatory wall,” Woolard observed that such activity falls under the FCA’s purview none the less. “What is different this time is that the Senior Managers’ Regime allows us to take a view on many parts of a [bank’s] business,” explained Woolard. 

He also said that the FCA would do all it can to prevent any repeat of the banking scandals that took place after the financial crisis, and that it would continue its work in the area of culture in that regard, which has been a priority for the FCA in recent years. “One thing I have said, both inside and outside the FCA, is that I am utterly determined not to see the kind of misconduct we have seen in the past.”

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