Nick Clegg has accused British banks of racism in a speech sure to anger many in the City.
The deputy prime minister said banks have been discriminating against ethnic minorities when granting loans and setting interest rates.
"Britain's banks, bailed out by the British people, have just as much responsibility as everyone else, arguably more responsibility, to help Britain build a strong and dynamic economy. Unleashing black and ethnic minority talent is their duty too."
“Past evidence shows that firms owned by individuals of black African origin have been four times more likely than so-called white firms to be denied loans outright.
“Bangladeshi, Pakistani, black Caribbean and black African-owned businesses have been subject to higher interest rates than white and Indian owned enterprises.”
Clegg announced the establishment of an inquiry comprised of the "best experts" in finance to look at the barriers preventing black and ethnic minority groups from accessing loans.
“If we are serious about turning the UK into an island of entrepreneurs, we need to get to the bottom of this," he will say.
The Lib Dem leader also waded into the row over Fifa president Sepp Blatter's denials that there is racism in football.
“When Sepp Blatter dares trivialise racism on the pitch, his comments are rightly met with public outcry," Clegg said.Suggest a correction