For the last 25 years, I have been telling those who have ears that the Law Society should set up its own bank. Initially my idea was greeted with some derision but, leaving that aside, even I had to admit that the practicalities were insurmountable.
Things have changed however. It has never been easier to set up a bank. The minimum capital requirement to obtain a licence has been reduced from £5m to £1m and other restrictions have been relaxed.
The co-founder of Metro Bank, which launched in 2010, recently said: ‘The process used to go on and on until, sometimes, applicants just ran out of money. Now the authorisation procedure is simpler, clearer and stage-gated, so you know where you are in the process. It used to feel like a heavy headwind. Now it feels like a tail wind.’
Having a bank controlled by the Law Society holding millions of client account monies would be fantastic for the profession. Just imagine how the transfer of funds on completion would be speeded up if it only entailed transferring money from one account to another in the same bank. And this would be only one of many advantages.
So, at the risk of being derided again (and I really am too old and ugly to worry too much about that), I repeat my suggestion that the Law Society should seriously consider such a proposal.
If it does and it turns out a success, I promise not to say ‘I told you so’. Just remember where you heard it first.
Robin Davis, Twickenham, Middlesex