Lloyds say sole practitioners have a place on their panel

At a time when most lenders seem to want to maintain a professional distance from conveyancers Lloyds Banking Group yesterday went out of its way to engage conveyancers by speaking at the Conveyancing Association’s Christmas Reception.
Eddie Goldsmith the Chairman of the Association described the group as the “best of breed” conveyancers and the “who’s who of serious conveyancers”.
In a warm and open manner Paul Collin’s described how Lloyds Banking Group had gone through a process of removing dormant firms from its panel as part of its post market collapse risk management review and this process had now developed to encourage engagement and discussion with as much of the market as possible to solve some of the market failures.
Calling for the CML to lead a market wide solution Paul expressed a view that collectively a data sharing model could significantly reduce the risk associated with the conveyancing process.
He specifically confirmed that Lloyds Banking Group:- 
1)    Does not intend to charge for panel membership
2)    Considers that there will be a need for a relatively large panel
3)    Presently only uses separate representation for cases over £1M
4)    Believes that sole practitioners will have a place on the panel particularly in rural areas
5)    Thinks that it is important that there is a right of appeal if you are removed from the panel.
The medium term picture potentially is not as rosy for conveyancers because Lloyds Banking Group are considering netting off funds when a transaction includes a Lloyds Banking Group brand on both sides of it and they hope this will encourage an industry wide system to enable transactions without funds being passed to conveyancers. 
Other publications reporting on this event have emphasised the comments that if fraud continues panels will be reduced further however I felt that Lloyds Banking Group are making a genuine effort to engage with practitioners to avoid this outcome.
Today's Conveyancer