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Alistair Darling set to interrogate individual UK banks

Amid signs that the UK government is growing impatient at the slow rate of lending in the UK market there are reports that Alistair Darling will be setting up individual meetings with UK banking leaders to see exactly what their plans are for the future. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has expressed his "extreme concern" that lending levels are still very subdued and access to finance appears to be blocked by tighter and tighter criteria and less liquidity in the market place.

The likes of Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds bank and Northern Rock, along with all of the other UK financial institutions, will be under the microscope over the next few weeks as the government looks to ensure a return on taxpayer's investment prior to the next general election. However, the UK government is very much at the beck and call of the UK financial system as it has become apparent that this is by far and away stronger than a combination of the UK government and UK regulators.

Whether we will see Alistair Darling calling the shots in his meetings with UK banks, or the banks telling Alistair Darling they want to do, remains to be seen but the next few weeks promise to be very interesting indeed.

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