Banks 'should revert to tradition'

Scotland should lead the way in building trust with the damaged banking sector by returning to a traditional system, according to a new blueprint.

The document, published by the Scottish Government, calls for a focus on "community banking", better access to loans for smaller businesses and more professional standards.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
First Minister Alex Salmond said poor conduct in the sector has led to public hostility which needs to be repaired.

"While the issues of the past must be addressed, we also must work together with the banks and support them in building a new relationship with customers and wider society, one that is firmly based on traditional Scottish banking values so trust can be restored," he wrote in the forward to the Government's document, called Sustainable, Responsible Banking.

Banking is still a major source of employment despite a significant drop in employees since the financial crash of 2007-08. The figure fell from about 52,300 in 2008 to 43,500 in 2011, according to the government document.

Describing Scotland as the "historic home of traditional banking", the report states: "The banks want to change the public's often negative perception of them and they recognise that the only way to do that is to prove to their customers that the desire to change is genuine and that it is for the long term. That is a hugely important step and one that deserves to be supported."

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "This strategy looks at what more we can do right now to provide diversity, to develop community banking, to support credit unions and help banks meet the commitments they have made to improve conduct, support small and medium-sized businesses and focus on customer service."

Colin Borland, head of external affairs for the FSB in Scotland, said: "We welcome the Government's proposals to expand the Scottish Investment Bank into a Scottish business development bank. Aligning our enterprise support networks with this new institution also seems like a sensible idea but we must not have another system which creams off whatever is new and trendy without supporting the business base."

Conservative finance spokesman Gavin Brown said the report hints at the prospect of a different regulatory regime in Scotland if it becomes independent after the referendum next year.

He highlighted a passage which states that independence would give ministers the necessary levers to encourage responsible banking: "All banks operating across the UK benefit from working with one set of rules but under independence they would be forced to comply with two. This would bring unnecessary complications and costs to their businesses, costs which would ultimately have to be borne by their customers."

The Sunday Times rich list 2013
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Banks 'should revert to tradition'

The 59-year-old billionaire has an almost 30% stake in Arsenal Football club and tops the list with an estimated worth of £13.3 billion.

Blavatnik's wealth rose from £3.4 billion last year to £11 billion in 2013 making him the biggest climber. He owns Warner Music and received £2 billion in April for his stake in TNK-BP.

Indian tycoons Sri and his brother Gopi Hinduja have a wealth of £10.6 billion from the industry and finance sector. The brothers made their fortune from their family firm Hinduja Group, a textile and trading exporter founded by their father in 1914.

Mittal spent eight years at the top of the rich list but slipped down to fourth place this year when the 40% stake he holds with his wife Usha in steelmaking giant ArcelorMittal plummeted from £28 billion to £5.95 billion.

With wealth totalling £9.3 billion, Roman Abramovich is most famous for buying Chelsea FC. A £200 million drop in his fortune lowers Abramovich from third to fourth spot.

Although largely unknown in Britain, 68-year-old Fredriksen is notorious in his native Norway as owner of the world's largest fleet of oil tankers. Once Norway's richest man and now a Cypriot national, the high-school dropout's companies are major players in shipping, offshore drilling and seafood.

The British-born billionaires, the Reuben brothers, are best-known for their vast UK property empire, which includes the John Lewis Partnership's headquarters in London's Victoria.

The Duke of Westminster is the second-highest ranked British billionaire and is worth an estimated £7.8 billion. He owns property group Grosvenor Estates, and half of London's Mayfair and Belgravia, as well as vast portions of the UK and Scotland.

With no change to their wealth this year, the Bertarellis are worth £7.4 billion. Born Kirsty Roper in 1971 into the Churchill China dynasty, 41-year-old Kirsty was a model and wrote the All Saints worldwide hit 'Black Coffee'.

Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken inherited a huge stake in Heineken, the world's third-largest brewer on the death of her father Freddy Heineken in 2002. Michel is an investment banker, former Olympic skier and toboganner, and and actor who appeared in the desert epic 'Lawrence of Arabia.'

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