Bank of Scotland unfairly double billed customers says judge

Bank of Scotland

Bank of Scotland has been unfairly double billing customers who fell behind on their mortgages, a High Court judge in Belfast has ruled.

In a scathing verdict, Master Ellison said the bank’s behaviour had been “unconscionable”.
He said it had caused borrowers to be “plunged into depression”.
The findings could have implications for thousands of Bank of Scotland mortgage holders across the United Kingdom.
The Housing Rights Service which took the case said if the bank’s practice had gone unchallenged, many borrowers would have lost their homes. READ MORE

The big freeze, the loan scheme and claims of mis-selling that sent bricklayer to the wall

Clive May spent 30 years building up his bricklaying business, but when it had a turnover of £2.6 million he was advised by his bank to take on an Enterprise Finance Guarantee loan and his business failed Jill Jennings – photographer

HAVE YOU HAD AN EFG LOAN? PLEASE COMPLETE THE SURVEY TO ASSIST YOU AND OTHERS TO GET THE REDRESS YOU DESERVE.

Firms fail after owners claim they were misled about the Enterprise Finance Guarantee

Like construction companies across Britain, the bitterly cold winter of late 2009 and early 2010 hit trading at Clive May’s small bricklaying business hard.

Determined to return his company to financial health, Mr May met NatWest, his bank, in August 2010 to discuss the impact that the “big freeze” would have on that year’s accounts.

According to Mr May, the meeting set off a chain of events in which the chill extended to his company’s credit facilities and contributed to the failure of C May Brickwork, a venture with a turnover of £2.6 billion that he had spent more than 30 years building up.
The culprit, he alleges, is mis-selling and abuse of a government scheme that has provided more than £2 billion of lending to small companies since 2009.

Enterprise Finance Guarantee places the government as a guarantor on individual bank loans to encourage lenders to help small firms. Mr May believes that thousands of small companies may have been misled about the protection that the EFG provides.
Mr May’s allegations are — belatedly, in his view — being taken seriously: his two-year battle against Royal Bank of Scotland, which owns NatWest, has resulted in Labour and Conservative politicians taking up his cause, while a number of RBS’s most senior bosses, including Ross McEwan, the chief executive, have taken a personal interest in the circumstances surrounding the demise of his business.

Mr May says that his problems began when NatWest suggested replacing much of his £245,000 overdraft with an EFG. Bank documents show that he was to be offered a £150,000 guarantee, with his overdraft reduced to £70,000.

Why would a business susceptible to seasonal swings in sales and resulting cashflow problems agree to its overdraft being slashed? Mr May alleges that the EFG was sold on the basis that he would be liable for only 25 per cent of the debt if his company failed.

In fact, EFG loans are designed to encourage lenders to back viable small businesses that lack the security for a conventional bank loan — they give banks a 75 per cent taxpayer guarantee, but the customer remains liable for the entire debt. Yet correspondence sent to Mr May in September 2011 reads: “Your liability to the bank would be 25 per cent of the EFG loan balance.”

EFG loans are also designed to provide working capital for growth, not to replace the overdrafts of established businesses.
Most seriously, correspondence seen by The Times shows that RBS admits that one of its relationship managers asked Mr May to remove valid security — a second home — from his application form. The property should have disqualified C May Brickwork from securing a guarantee. However, a second form that did not refer to the property was submitted to the business department by NatWest, allowing the government-backed loan to be drawn.

The reasons for the removal of the security are disputed, with RBS so far having offered three different explanations to Mr May, including an erroneous claim, seen by The Times, that the property was held in the name of Mr May’s wife “following the death of one of her relatives”. No such death had occurred and, as the first application form showed, the property was jointly owned by Mr May and his wife, both shareholders in the business.

Mr May eventually was released from his EFG liability without explanation. He is now engaged in a legal battle for compensation; he believes that his business failed because the £70,000 overdraft was rapidly ratcheted down.
“If we hadn’t lost our overdraft on the back of a mis-sold loan, we’d still be trading. I left school with no qualifications and built a company that had a cracking reputation. To go from that to telling people you’re going under, the emotional toll has been huge,” he says.

The business department told The Times that it would ask the state British Business Bank, which runs the scheme, to conduct a full audit of Mr May’s case. It is understood to be concerned about RBS’s conduct over this loan, although it believes the vast majority of EFG loans have been sold correctly.

It is also looking into how lenders are recovering money when customers default on EFG debts after The Times supplied documents suggesting that Lloyds benefited from both repayment by the business owner and the taxpayer. Lloyds is claiming the entire outstanding EFG debt from a failed small Devon-based community farm business, even after it received 75 per cent of the outstanding amount from the government and charged the small business further fees plus interest.

Lloyds says that it will pay the government back as it receives funds from the customer, but a business department source said that it is “wholly inappropriate” for banks to charge interest to customers in default on any funds that have been repaid by the taxpayer.
Lloyds says that it will “amend interest charges to reflect the amount outstanding and the reducing sum held under the claim on the guarantee”.

There is no suggestion that the Lloyds or RBS cases are part of the “far-reaching research case” the Serious Fraud Office is understood to be carrying out into SME lending.

Lewis Patterson, who ran North Devon Farm Park, the recipient of the EFG loan, claims his loan was mis-sold. He claims the “sales pitch” was that the EFG loan was “underwritten by the government” to his benefit.
Lloyds says that it explained the EFG to Mr Patterson correctly and that the government audit of its EFG performance is at the “highest [level] possible for the way we test customer eligibility”.

The Times has seen testimony from numerous small companies with EFG loans secured from a range of high street banks who allege that their lender told them the guarantee was to protect the business rather than the lender.

Julie Bottomley and her husband Richard were mis-sold a £100,000 EFG loan for their Lincolnshire construction products start-up. They claim they were told they would be liable for only 25 per cent of the losses if the company failed, which it did in 2012.
RBS admits that it “mis-advised” the business on its EFG loan, eventually offering to reduce the liability to 25 per cent and pay £1,000 compensation.

“There’s a real scandal going on,” Ms Bottomley says. “How many people have been told the same as us?”
However, supporters of the initiative, including RBS — the biggest user of EFG — note that it has provided millions of pounds of funding to companies that would not otherwise have been able to secure loans. BIS research suggests that it has delivered a £1.1 billion boost to the economy.

RBS declined to comment on the cases of Mr May or the Bottomleys, although it is understood that the bank feels that an internal review of its EFG sales shows that mis-selling is not an endemic issue. It says it conducts regular audits of its use of the scheme.
“RBS has helped over 8,000 SMEs access lending through this government scheme. We work with our customers to explain the finance they are applying for and inform them of the terms,” a spokesman said.

A source familiar with the operation of the EFG scheme, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “This is not on the scale of the mis-selling of interest rate swaps, but there is a significant problem. There needs to be an admission that mistakes have been made.”

EFG Loan Survey

Help to redress EFG Loan mis-selling

Help to redress EFG Loan mis-selling

EFG The Times Survey

THE EFG LOAN SCANDAL IS NOT JUST ONE BANK IT SEEMS TO BE MANY – IF NOT ALL!

Please click here to start your EFG Loan survey

The UK wide EFG Loan survey is being undertaken to further highlight mis-selling banking practices this time regarding the 75% EFG government guarantee for the benefit of the lending bank, which was deliberately mis-sold as a benefit for the borrower! This mis-selling kidded unsuspecting borrowers into believing that they were only 25% personally liable for the remaining loan in the event of a default! Of course at default, the banks are claiming 100% personal liability and denying that they sold a 25% liability in order to get the business! Even bank literature and websites mislead the borrowers!

The survey is being conducted in association with The Times article dated 18/08/2014 and the results will be analysed and shared with the government and used to assist complainants to achieve their redress from the banks.

Please click here to start your EFG Loan survey

Papering over the RBS cracks

Papering over the cracks

The decision by RBS to dissolve its Global Restructuring Group, an arm of the bank that stands accused of destroying viable UK businesses for profit, will do little to repair the damage caused to the bank’s beleaguered reputation. By Ian Fraser

Sunday 17 August 2014

As a damage limitation exercise, it ranks alongside Rupert Murdoch’s shock closure of disgraced tabloid the News of the World in 2011.

The Royal Bank of Scotland has told staff that its Global Restructuring Group (GRG), which stands accused of destroying viable UK businesses for profit, is being dissolved with immediate effect.

The move has been widely interpreted as designed to dampen criticism of GRG, which reached a crescendo over claims that its long-term leader, Derek Sach, and Chris Sullivan, RBS’s deputy chief executive, had been “wilfully obtuse” – an apparent euphemism – to the Treasury Select Committee in June. The pair had insisted GRG was not a profit centre (part of a company treated as a separate unit), a claim Sullivan later admitted was untrue.

On August 8, RBS also announced that Sach, who has run GRG for 22 years, and former Savills chief executive Aubrey Adams, who has lead RBS’s no less controversial West Register property arm for three years, were leaving the bank. The bank said it was promoting Helen Barlow, who has run GRG in the UK for five years, to take Sach’s place. Before joining RBS in 2009, Barlow worked for the accountants Andersen and ran the UK arm of turnaround firm AlixPartners.

Business people who have suffered at GRG’s hands were both perplexed and underwhelmed by RBS’s decision to axe the unit. Neil Mitchell, who is pursuing a claim against RBS after, in 2007, it allegedly defrauded shareholders and bondholders in the AIM-listed software company Torex Retail where he was chief executive, said: “They’re closing it without a fight, without even waiting for the outcomes of the Financial Conduct Authority, Serious Fraud Office and HM Revenue & Customs investigations.”

Glasgow-based James Montgomery, who alleges that GRG floored his property business by manipulating valuations, said: “They’re closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. The damage has already been done – both to the SME market and, probably irreparably, to the RBS brand.”

Clayton Perks, founder of Glasgow Chiropractic, which claims GRG conspired to sabotage his business after RBS missold him swaps that drained £661,000 out of his companies, said: “The dirty work will continue behind closed doors.”

RBS won’t comment on the closure but it is understood GRG’s operations and portfolio of non-performing loans are being transferred into the RBS Capital Resolution Group, an internal “bad bank” that RBS launched in January following a Treasury-led probe into the efficacy of its good bank/bad bank split. RCR, as it is known internally, is led by Rory Cullinan, RBS’s head of equity finance under Fred Goodwin between 2001 and 2005 who re-joined the bank to oversee the dismantlement of RBS’s non-core division in 2009.

Professional advisers are sceptical that the closure will make much difference. Alison Loveday, senior partner of Manchester-based law firm Berg, which is representing scores of business people who claim their firms were destroyed by GRG’s actions, does not believe the closure of GRG will block the pipeline of civil litigation against RBS.

“It looks to me like this is a simple case of RBS jumping before they were pushed. None of this undoes the damage that’s been done to a great many businesses.”

Insolvency lawyer James Nicholls, former managing partner of Birmingham-based Nicholls & Co, said: “This is largely window dressing. If RBS was serious about cleaning up its act in recovery and restructuring, it would be bringing in a new broom from outside.”

Jon Welsby of specialist advisory firm Insolvency Assist, said he was concerned GRG’s closure will make matters worse for many of his clients.

“The closure could be a nightmare for insolvent claims and those that are on the edge. I’m particularly concerned for businesses whose accounts show ‘excessive’ charges and interest rate hedging product payments averaging 200% of the loan value. Valuations will be shot to pieces and scope for refinancing is nil.”

The GRG and West Register scandals date back to 1992 when, in the wake of the UK property crisis of 1990-91, the bank hired Sach from 3i and asked him to turn its restructuring and recovery division into a profit centre.

Over the next 16 years, and especially in the early 1990s, things went relatively smoothly for Sach though there were occasional rumblings of discontent from some customers, generally arising from perceived conflicts of interest between West Register (a property developer and property investment vehicle established by the bank in 1992) and the bank’s property customers.

However these were just the hors d’oeuvres in a banquet of alleged misconduct that has since overwhelmed RBS and GRG. In July 2008, aware that the financial crisis and acquisition of ABN Amro had blown a massive hole in its balance sheet and that a £12 billion rights issue was not enough to undo the damage, the bank is alleged to have opted to turn the screws on its own business borrowers.

In August 2008, GRG staff were told they would have to become more aggressive – bumping up fees, forcing clients into new terms and agreements, and seizing equity stakes in customer firms, according to a GRG whistleblower who appeared on Channel 4 News.

Asked by the programme’s Siobhan Kennedy what these new fees were for, the whistleblower said: “Nothing really. The fees were just there to make sure [firms] were pushed to the brink.”

The whistleblower added that GRG took complete control over customers’ accounts and was not answerable to any other part of the bank. He added that shifting customers’ assets into West Register was firmly on the agenda.

RBS has consistently denied anything like this happened and insists GRG has always been dedicated to restoring troubled business customers to health, even though Chairman Sir Philip Hampton has admitted it may have been a bit “heavy-handed” in some instances just because of the sheer volume of companies that passed through GRG in the wake of the crisis. GRG’s alleged activities remained below the radar for several years after RBS was bailed out with £45.5bn of UK taxpayers’ money. It won kudos for successes such as the rescue of larger delinquent borrowers including Thomas Cook and Samsonite.

However, the floodgates of negative publicity opened last November when Leeds-based entrepreneur Lawrence Tomlinson published a highly critical report for Vince Cable at the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, where he was “entrepreneur in residence”.

Tomlinson accused RBS of taking down viable businesses by withdrawing funding, turning overdrafts into loans, reneging or altering lending agreements and getting friendly chartered surveyors to produce “lowball” valuations of property assets. In some cases, Tomlinson said no breach was even cited. The bank just took a dislike to the business or its sector.

Tomlinson said that GRG staff were “incentivised to asset strip” and that many firms ended up being put into administration, though the bank claims this fate only awaited 10% of GRG customers. Tomlinson said directors of firms transferred there were scared of speaking out for fear of worse treatment afterwards, causing him to mask the identities of the 23 case studies in his report. In the report, Tomlinson wrote: “Once in this part of the bank, the business is trapped with no ability to move or opportunity to trade out of the position. They are forced to stand by and watch an otherwise successful business be sunk by the decisions of the bank.”

The Manchester lawyer Loveday added that matters were made worse because RBS seemed to have recruited some “exceptionally nasty” people to work in GRG. “Some of our clients would say they were dealing with sadists,” she said.

When the report was published in November, Hampton dismissed it as full of “anecdotal, unsubstantiated allegations”, while the bank commissioned law firm, Clifford Chance, a member of RBS’s panel of legal advisers, to produce an “independent” review of the claims.

When it reported in April, RBS said it had found “no evidence” to support “Tomlinson’s core allegation” that the bank had set out to defraud business customers. However, a close reading of the report suggested the top City legal firm was, inadvertently or otherwise, corroborating some of Tomlinson’s key claims, especially where the arbitrariness of fee structures and valuations was concerned.

In November, the Financial Conduct Authority confirmed it was launching a “skilled persons report” into the alleged malpractice under section 166 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and later said Promontory Financial Group and accountancy firm Mazars would lead the probe. The Serious Fraud Office also commenced inquiries.

Unsurprisingly, given the number of UK companies that have been affected by the scandal, the GRG affair became a cause celebre for the bank and a running sore for New Zealander Ross McEwan, who took over as RBS chief executive in October 2013.

McEwan was ambushed by a caller on a phone-in show with London-based radio show LBC last month. The caller, “Sarah”, asked how GRG staff could “morally” be given bonuses “after causing so much emotional and financial harm”.

McEwan responded by insisting his turnaround team was a “pretty good unit” adding that “I have not seen malicious or fraudulent activity going on in the business”. When it emerged just weeks later that GRG staff were being handed £17m in bonuses, social media was bombarded with messages from incredulous victims of the bank.

“The important issue here is whether RBS is now, and is seen to be, acting in the long-term interests of its shareholders and SME customers,” said Treasury Select Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie MP earlier this month. He added that RBS still had a “long way to go” to improve the way it serves its customers. However, the affair has arguably been a boon to other UK banks, some of which have behaved no better in the restructuring and recovery space.

“Because the spotlight has been shining on GRG, other banks have escaped scrutiny,” said Loveday. “We’ve got a number of cases against Barclays and Lloyds, where the behaviour is very, very similar to that of GRG.”

Lloyds has cannily offloaded some sizeable parcels of troubled assets to the New York-based private equity house Cerberus Capital Management. Loveday said this means it is effectively outsourcing GRG-type activities, making it less likely to take any flak.

“These disposals enable Lloyds to say ‘don’t we treat businesses well?'” she said.

The fact that such presentation-led moves on behalf of Britain’s banks can be presented as good treatment suggests how low the bar has been set in recent years.

Ian Fraser’s book Shredded: Inside RBS The Bank That Broke Britain has been longlisted for the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award.

Ian Fraser

Writer & Journalist

Tel: +44 (0)1875 823600 | Mobile: +44 (0)7803 970393 |

Email: ian@ianfraser.org | Web: www.ianfraser.org |

Skype: ian.fraser60 |  Twitter: @ian_fraser

 

Register your GRG complaints with BERG – A message from Alison Loveday

Alison Loveday

Alison Loveday Managing Partner at Berg

GRG Disbanded – Berg is ready to receive your GRG complaints and has litigation funding available

Hot off the press on 08/08/14 is the news that GRG has been disbanded, and Derek Sachs is “moving on”.  It would appear that the final straw for GRG may have been the controversial appearance of Derek Sachs and Chris Sullivan before the Treasury Select Committee.

Please see links below.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/rbs-scraps-controversial-grg-unit-criticised-tomlinson-report-1460346

http://online.wsj.com/articles/rbs-to-disband-global-restructuring-group-1407494107

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/aug/08/rbs-small-business-restructuring-head-leaves

Andrew Tyrie MP branded RBS “wilfully obtuse” in the evidence it gave to the committee about its GRG division. This follows strenuous statements in oral evidence by RBS to the Treasury Select Committee that GRG was “absolutely not a profit centre”.  Chris Sullivan, RBS’s deputy group Chief Executive, conceded the point in a letter to Andrew Tyrie MP dated 15 July 2014. In his letter, Chris Sullivan also corrected his statement to MPs that he had not seen a draft version of an independent report into GRG written by Clifford Chance, which the banks have to date relied upon as having given them the “all clear”.  When this report came out earlier this year, it was widely regarded as a white wash.

For the full article in The Times follow this link http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/banking/article4154965.ece?shareToken=ff452ca4b45f503b2e88f9b80867b6cd, to see the letter from Chris Sullivan see http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/treasury-committee/sme-lending/written/11373.html and to see the evidence given by Chris Sullivan & Derek Sachs on 17 June 2014 see http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/treasury-committee/sme-lending/oral/10753.html (from Q526 onwards).

The Treasury Select Committee has also recently heard evidence from Lloyds Bank. Lloyds confirmed it had sent letters to customers that appeared to come from independent lawyers when the letters were actually sent to customers by the bank’s in-house litigation department. Subsequently, in a letter to the committee’s chairman Andrew Tyrie MP, Lloyd’s Chief Executive Antonio Horta-Osorio acknowledged the bank had issued the collection letters under the name SCM solicitors since the late 1980s and confirmed a decision had been made this year to stop the practice. Andrew Tyrie said the evidence from Lloyds, which included an example of one of the letters, was very concerning. The letter received from Lloyds Bank dated 15 July 2014 can be found here.

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/treasury/140715-Antonio-Horta-Osorio.pdf

It is now widely acknowledged that the FCA review scheme in relation to consequential losses has failed to deliver satisfactory redress for those that have taken part. For clients who were waiting to pursue any GRG claim this could now be combined with a consequential loss claim relating to the interest rate swap, although we know a lot of our GRG/specialised lending clients did not have swaps.

We have received some recent reports from some clients that their GRG manager has been very eager to be accommodating – a significant change from the past!  This was then followed by a call from RBS’s “research department” who are filling out a satisfaction survey as to how did the client rate their GRG manager.  It would appear that the bank want to be able to refer to statistics showing that X% of people are happy with the way that they are dealt with by their GRG manager or something similar.

We reported in our last update that Promontory and Mazars are carrying out investigations on behalf of the FCA into GRG’s activities. We understand that they are still in the process of taking evidence so there is still time to hear from business owners affected. Please lodge details of your case now as they are looking to bring receipt of new evidence to a close imminently. They will not accept evidence from this firm and it will need to be submitted directly by you.

We are still working with funders and hope to be able to set out a proposal by which potential claimants can have their case assessed and funded but realistically this is now likely to be in early September/October due to the amount of movement in this changing market with new funders coming in and some leaving the market. There is positive developments as funders are now looking at much smaller claims than they have done historically.

Litigation funders will pay some or all of the costs/expenses associated with a dispute, in return for a share of the proceeds of the dispute, if it is successful. If the litigation is not successful, the funder bares the costs it has agreed to fund. Almost always, litigation funding would be combined with a policy of insurance to cover the opponent’s legal costs, should the action not be successful. This is clearly critically important when taking on a major bank.

Litigation funders first need to understand the nature of the case and will typically require an advice from Counsel which assesses the case as having 60% or more prospects of success.

If you are interested in your case potentially being funded by a third party litigator, please let us know. To get started, we would need the following information:

  • A list of the main individuals involved;
  • A summary of the key issues; and
  • A chronology which sets out in brief detail key dates and events.

As we have already highlighted in previous updates, it is essential that claims are protected to ensure that they did not become time barred. Early assessment is therefore very much our recommendation.

We remain committed to highlighting the devastating impact some banks have had on businesses. To this end, we have recently completed our second Banking Report. You should have received a copy of this by email.  If you have not, please let me know and I can arrange to forward a copy to you.

If there are any issues in this update or the report that you would like to discuss, please contact me or one of our Banking and Financial regular regulatory team on 0161 833 9211.

Kind regards

Yours sincerely

Alison

Alison Loveday

Managing Partner

Web: www.berg.co.uk

Alison Loveday
Managing Partner
Banking & Financial Regulation Team

Email: Alisonl@berg.co.uk
Web: www.berg.co.uk
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RBS Scraps Controversial GRG Unit Criticised in Tomlinson Report

Lianna Brinded

August 8, 2014 12:18 BST
RBS Scraps Controversial GRG Unit Criticised in Tomlinson ReportReuters

The Royal Bank of Scotland is scrapping the Global Restructuring Group (GRG), the controversial unit accused of engineering businesses into default while profiting from their struggles, says sources.

Sources told IBTimes UK that GRG “no longer exists” and was disbanded with immediate effect, while two of the group’s biggest bosses Derek Sach and Aubrey Adams will leave the bank.
However, another top GRG executive, Laura Barlow, will remain at the bank and take on a new role elsewhere.
RBS declined to comment.

Last year, former government advisor Lawrence Tomlinson claimed the 81% government-owned lender profited from struggling businesses, which were pushed into default after being moved into the controversial unit, GRG.Tomlinson claimed that by moving businesses into GRG, this can create more revenue for the bank through higher fees and margins.
It can also result in the purchase of devalued assets by its property division, West Register, he added.
Tomlinson told the committee that he was ready to hand the dossier over to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in order for the watchdog to investigate, as the evidence he has collected revealed “morally wrong” practices.

After the release of Tomlinson’s report, RBS drafted in heavyweight lawyers to review the treatment of small-to-medium sized enterprises (SME) and eventually released a review which claims the bank was cleared of any allegations that it tried to defraud some of its customers.
The bank said the review, carried out by law firm Clifford Chance, found that after interviewing 138 customers and reviewing 130 files, there “was no evidence to support this damaging and serious allegation”.
There is no confirmation that RBS disbanded GRG in response to the negative publicity the unit has faced and sources say it was scrapped “because of an improvement in the economy and there was no longer a need for a big unit to deal with troubled businesses.” READ MORE

Related
READ – FX Fixing Scandal: RBS Bankers Fight Market Manipulation Class Actions
READ – RBS ‘Wilfully Obtuse’ in Evidence About SME Profiteering, says Lawmaker
READ – Ian Fraser: RBS is a ‘Rogue Institution’ and is Dangerously in Denial About Tomlinson

Ex-Lloyds banker claims ‘risky derivatives sold to as many as possible’

Disturbing inside story of claims against household name revealed in High Court document

Jul 31, 2014 04:50 By

A former banker has claimed Lloyds staff in Birmingham worked in a climate of fear and sold risky products to ill-informed customers – and rewarded themselves with champagne.

The disturbing inside story of claims that complex derivatives were sold in Birmingham to often unguarded customers is revealed in an extraordinary High Court document released to the Post.

Former banker-turned-whistleblower James Ducker has alleged aggressive sales tactics and a culture of fear which forced Lloyds staff to sell allegedly unsuitable products, often to financially-unsophisticated small traders. READ MORE

£17m bonuses for ‘thieving’ RBS loan unit

Sunday Times

Jason Allardyce and Iain Dey Published: 27 July 2014

THE taxpayer-owned bank RBS has awarded bonuses worth £17m to bankers in its controversial “turnround” unit, which has been accused of killing off small businesses for profit.

Vince Cable, the business secretary, has signalled his unease after documentation seen by The Sunday Times revealed that the payouts had been approved while the Global Restructuring Group (GRG) remained under investigation by the financial regulator.

GRG was at the centre of evidence produced by Lawrence Tomlinson, one of Cable’s key advisers, suggesting RBS forced vibrant businesses into trouble and profited from their distress by squeezing them for fees and ultimately seizing their assets to swell its own property empire. READ MORE

Bankers braced for new UK regulatory scheme from Bank of England Tough new measures to be unveiled as City deals with new scandal after Lloyds fined £226m for rigging key interest rates

Bank of England

Jill Treanor The Guardian, Tuesday 29 July 2014 19.04 BST

Britain’s bankers are braced for the introduction of a tough new regulatory regime to be outlined by the Bank of England on Wednesday, under which they will have to wait longer for their bonuses and could be deemed guilty until proven innocent.

Details of the Bank’s consultation come as a new scandal hits the City as a result of the £226m penalty imposed on Lloyds Banking Group for rigging key interest rates. READ MORE

Unfair bank? A new set of rules to help you sue


For the past three years, bank customers in the UK have had an excellent set of legal powers to tackle their banks if they think they have been treated unfairly.

Unfortunately, hardly anyone knows about them, and the relevant authorities have failed to give the powers any meaningful publicity.
The rules were been laid down by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
They are known as the Banking: Conduct of Business sourcebook (BCOBS) and they apply to small businesses as well as to private individuals. READ MORE