Independent Banking Advisory Service
Established in 1992
Banks MPs and Government
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A group of ﬁnanciers have been jailed for their part in a £245m scam after being convicted of bribery and corruption. - The six, including a senior banker, have been sentenced to a total of 47 years and 9 months in prison. Between 2003 and 2007, ﬁnance consultant David Mills, 59, used designer watches, exotic holidays and sex parties to bribe HBOS manager Lynden Scourﬁeld, 54, to approve inappropriate loans for struggling businesses. Mills, who was sentenced to 15 years in jail, and his colleagues were then able to charge the business owners signiﬁcant consultancy fees. Many of the ﬁrms went bankrupt as a result of the loans and some of the owners lost their homes. Scourﬁeld had been in charge of helping business customers who were facing ﬁnancial difﬁculties during his time at HBOS, but resigned from the bank in 2007. He was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months in prison for his offences. Judge Martin Beddoe told Scourﬁeld he had sold his soul to the devil. - Sky News 2nd February 2017
Former HBOS manager found guilty of corruption and fraud - Six people, including two former HBOS bankers, have been found guilty of bribery and fraud that cost the bank's business customers and shareholders hundreds of millions of pounds. Lynden Scourﬁeld, a former manager with HBOS, pleaded guilty to six counts including corruption. Five other defendants, including so-called turnaround consultants, were also convicted. In exchange for bribes, Scourﬁeld told customers to use the turnaround ﬁrm. Prosecutor Brian O'Neill QC said: "Many individuals suffered great ﬁnancial loss and considerable personal trauma as a result of their callous disregard for the businesses they had established, owned or managed." A decade on, HBOS's owner Lloyds Banking Group still has not acknowledged the full scale of the fraud - or offered to compensate its victims. - 30th January 2017 - BBC Business News
Banks told on fraud: Donʼt bounce the checks - A crimewave is sweeping the UK as thieves open accounts using fake ID - and then steal your money. For 35 of the past 36 years, you were more likely to fall victim to a bag-snatcher or a burglar than to any other type of criminal. But last year that changed. For the ﬁrst time, fraud and cyber crime were “the most commonly experienced offence”, ofﬁcial ﬁgures revealed last week. Banks and Building Societies claim they block 60% of fraud attempts, this means - worryingly - that 40% are successful. - January 22nd 2017 - Sunday Times Money.
Eddy Weatherill says: "The news stories above illustrate the very real and newer threats to bank customers in the coming years and also the laxity of any worthwhile banking controls in the period from 2007 onwards - see my comments made on 20th November 2015 (below). The issue now for those HBOS businesses who were destroyed by the frauds perpetrated on them by HBOS managers, is - can they gain financial restitution for the now proven criminal activities at HBOS from the Directors at HBOS prior to the Lloyds takeover or from Lloyds?
Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) - launched in 1992 as a specialist unincorporated business banking membership organization assisting bank customers with UK business banking account loan disputes and business banking debt disputes with their bank. Our analysis and investigation of business bank loans, bank accounts, banking contracts, business banking account facilities and banking debt recovery information has been instrumental in our member's success.
IBAS is now in it's 25th year helping/guiding those with UK Business Banking disputes and Director's Personal Guarantee business debt claims - IBAS is the only UK non profit organization which provides business banking customers with specialist business banking assistance and specialist business banking guidance and also IBAS specialist business banking investigations.
IBAS business banking dispute negotiating experience and proven strategy provides claims and defences for business bank customers. IBAS has excellent banking investigation reputation and has also featured on BBC TV, BBC TV News, ITV, Meridian and Sky News and in Sunday Times, Times, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Mirror editorials.
Millions of people who have basic bank accounts may be paying higher fees than necessary - While eight million people have basic accounts, around half of them are still liable to pay fees for failed payments. The Treasury figures show that 3.7 million people have accounts that do not conform to the agreement, struck between the government and the banking industry, in 2014. Of those, 3.6 million bank with Lloyds. Only 4% of those who have basic bank accounts with Lloyds have access to the cheapest banking terms, the figures show. On 'Financial distress' "These figures are shocking, but sadly not surprising," said Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of Money.co.uk. "Swift intervention is clearly necessary if banks can't be trusted to treat their most financially vulnerable customers fairly." Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is the only other bank where some basic account customers have to pay fees. - BBC Business - Personal Banking - 12th December 2016 - So, the fact that Lloyds set up such accounts to 'fleece' vulnerable people (whilst not surprising IBAS either) - evidences lack of (or no) proper regulatory control - that must be corrected very quickly - let's hope that happens before Christmas! - Eddy Weatherill on 12th December 2016
Eddy Weatherill says: Having now seen the first of the RBS letters on 'Putting things Right' which are now following the bank's announcement that they would be 'creating a new complaints process overseen by retired High Court Judge, Sir William Blackburne.' It does appear that the first steps are being taken for that process.
So far, so good. But, as I've said before, the devil is in the detail. We know from the SWAPS 'reviews' that it was the 'devil in the detail' which then allowed RBS to avoid the additional losses claimed by many businesses - although they were using legal advisors (their legal advisors still did quite well from the fees) - and the fact that it was GRG 'excesses' and fees which had created many of those losses. Maybe, this 'new complaints process' will allow redress - but we have not seen a bank pay out without good evidence and reasoning and have seen many cases which have failed despite high cost legal representation. A good case with good reasoning and evidence is now vitally important for what may be the last opportunity for many businesses to gain redress. The same applies where there is a a home or property at risk and the need to make a reasonable negotiating position instead of the bank taking all they claim through their Debt Recovery Department. The 'strength' of the customer's case is even more necessary if legal representation is unaffordable (and it is very costly) or the case is just not large enough to justify ILA or in obtaining the necessary counsel's opinion to gain litigation funding to start that process to pursue the bank for their claims. IBAS has helped many gain results which otherwise would have been impossible - so don't be too proud to ask IBAS for help. - 12th December 2016
Eddy Weatherill says: Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has agreed a settlement with three out of ﬁve shareholder groups (after 8 years) and is forced to 'minimise further material litigation expense' which in 'bank speak' means the balance had tilted in favour of the opposition and maybe for once the litigation funders were not prepared to put more money at risk. Along with the news that RBS "remains susceptible to financial and economic stress" means this bank is weak and still at substantial risk from further litigation both here and abroad. - 5th December 2016
RBS settles shareholder lawsuits as part of £800m deal - Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has agreed a settlement with three out of ﬁve shareholder groups currently suing the bank for compensation. The claims relate to a £12bn fundraising drive which RBS undertook in 2008, just months before it had to be bailed out by the British taxpayer to the tune of more than £45bn.
As previously reported by Sky News, the bank has set aside £800m to pay the claims of all ﬁve shareholder groups. According to RBS, it has agreed the settlements to "minimise further material litigation expense and management distraction" and has done so without any admission of fault. - Sky News - 5th December 2016
RBS settles three claims over 2008 fund raising - Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has reached a deal with three of the ﬁve shareholder groups who allege they were misled over the bank's £12bn fund raising in 2008. RBS said it had reached a "full and ﬁnal settlement" with the three, and would now seek to agree terms with the two remaining groups. Investors argued they were misled over RBS's health, and so bought shares just months before it was bailed out. RBS has set aside a total of £800m to settle all the claims.
Last week, stress tests run by the Bank of England found that RBS was the worst prepared of the UK's biggest lenders to cope with another ﬁnancial crisis. The results forced RBS to devise plans to bolster its balance sheet by £2bn through cost cuts and shedding assets. - BBC Business News 5th December 2016
Eddy Weatherill says: Lawrence Tomlinson is correct when he says: " Today's announcement is an important first step but it appears there are more conclusions needed on these most damning elements on the bank's behaviour." I would go further and say that for Bank PR it's very good - but as usual the 'devil is in the detail' and many business customers have already been waiting for much longer than the 3 years since the Tomlinson Report was first published.
The bank has issued denial after denial - year on year - preventing the 12,000 business customers from running their own business whilst also taking many of those businesses away (by one means or another) and many small businesses have lost their personal assets due to this bank. No wonder many SME's have resorted to legal claims in joining lawyer led 'class actions'. But, at IBAS we also know that the greater number of those small businesses cannot join into such legal claims because their claims are not 6 figure plus claims.
We look forward to 'understanding' just how the RBS will 'refund complex fees paid by about 4,000 small business GRG customers between 2008 and 2013' and will be watching carefully to see whether those refunds are correct and also allow for the time involved. But, the greater issue is on the related SME losses which will need to be 'fought for' individually because the bank does not just 'give back' money to customers when they can avoid it. Our members have IBAS support and knowledge for those issues. - 8th November 2016
RBS to compensate squeezed ﬁrms - Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is to compensate up to 12,000 small business customers that it allegedly mistreated in the wake of the ﬁnancial crisis. The bank has announced a fund of £400m for affected ﬁrms. Its Global Restructuring Group (GRG) had been accused of buying assets cheaply from failing ﬁrms it claimed to be helping. However, regulators found RBS did not "artiﬁcially engineer" the transfer of customers to GRG. Last month, RBS said it had let some small business customers down in the past but denied it had deliberately caused them to fail.
The bank will automatically refund complex fees paid by about 4,000 small business GRG customers between 2008 and 2013, and will set up a new complaints process. The process will be overseen by retired High Court judge Sir William Blackburne. Complaints will initially be dealt with by the bank, and any that are not resolved will then be considered by the third party. In the case of businesses that have gone bust but are due compensation, it will be up to administrators to decide whether to reconstitute the ﬁrm, said RBS regulatory affairs ofﬁcer, Jon Pain. It may be the case that only creditors of a dissolved ﬁrm will beneﬁt from any compensation, rather than the business owner, he said. On Tuesday, the FCA said in it's FCA Statement that it found there was no widespread practice of transferring customers to GRG for their value, or requesting cash injections when the bank had no intention of supporting the business. Small businesses that were transferred to GRG "were exhibiting clear signs of financial difficulty," the FCA said.
However, the bank did fail to support businesses "in a manner consistent with good turnaround practice", including "placing an undue focus on pricing increases and debt reduction without due consideration to the longer term viability of customers". RBS's announcement coincides with the appearance before the Treasury Select Committee of Andrew Bailey, FCA chief executive. - BBC Business News 8th November 2016
8th November 2016 FCA News page
Lawrence Tomlinson’s press release dated 8th November 2016 confirms his opinions on the FCA's Statement.
RBS sets aside £400m to repay small business customers - Royal Bank of Scotland is setting aside £400m as it repays fees to small business customers after claims of mistreatment. The lender made the announcement, conﬁrming a Sky News report, as it said it was putting in place a new complaints process over its controversial Global Restructuring Group (GRG).
13th October 2016
1.1 In 2013, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (PCBS) recommended that banks put in place mechanisms to allow their employees to raise concerns internally (i.e. to ‘blow the whistle’). The Commission also recommended that banks assign the responsibility for overseeing the effectiveness of those arrangements to a senior person.
1.2 In October 2015, the FCA and the PRA introduced new rules requiring internal whistleblowing arrangements to be introduced by banks, building societies, credit unions and PRA-designated investment firms (collectively known as Relevant Authorised Persons, or “RAPs”), as well as insurers. (source FCA web site)
BBC Newsnight on 10th October 2016 - provided an exclusive RBS investigation and evidenced internal papers obtained from a ‘whistleblower’ regarding RBS Global Restructuring Group (GRG).
The Tomlinson Report was published on 25th November 2013 - Lawrence Tomlinson’s press release dated 10th October 2016 confirms his opinions. As IBAS provided a number of cases for the Tomlinson Report to be produced we endorse his views and urge the FCA to ‘get behind’ the information which now provides them with the ‘smoking gun’ and act on all information now available and not ‘bury’ this matter for the bank’s benefit. Many GRG customers currently face limitation issues if they just wait - hoping for some compensation following the FCA’s report and their limitation date could lapse. That means they lose the right to bring a legal claim. The bank will seize on those ‘opportunities’ to reduce the claims against them. If you are are one of those just waiting and just hoping contact IBAS now.
Mastercard facing £19bn damages claim over inflated card charges - The Company is alleged to have set unlawfully high fees for using cards in shops over a 16-year period The claim, led by former financial services ombudsman Walter Merricks – who has instructed US-based law firm Quinn Emanuel, is to be filed under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which allows for collective damages claims. Merricks said in a statement: 'The prices of everything we all bought from 1992 to 2008 were higher than they should have been as a result of the unlawful conduct of MasterCard. There is no question that MasterCard acted illegally in the way it conducted its business, a business that affects all of us. All of us over-paid to the tune of up to £19bn during a period lasting 16 years. My aim is to get the redress to which UK consumers are entitled and to ensure that MasterCard cannot hold on to the illegal profits it made. This case should send a signal to companies that break competition laws at the expense of UK consumers that they do so at their financial peril.'
MasterCard faces £19bn collective action over card charges - Millions of Britons could collect more than £450 each in a landmark legal case against MasterCard over a £19billion rip-off. The case revolves around the charges imposed by MasterCard on retailers for processing credit and debit card payments over 16 years. These 'interchange fees' were passed on to all shoppers regardless of whether they were MasterCard customers or not in higher prices on everything from a pair of shoes to the weekly groceries. Now the UK's former Chief Financial Ombudsman, Walter Merricks, is leading a class action lawsuit to get consumers their money back. - Daily Mail 05.07.16
IBAS Comment: MasterCard is the first big corporation to be sued under new UK laws allowing US-style class actions. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan are issuing a £19bn claim against the financial services giant on behalf of British debit and credit card users hit with 'illegal' charges.
This claim appears to be the biggest in UK legal history and one of the first to be filed under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which allows 'opt-out' claims to be brought for the first time in the UK. It was previously extremely difficult to bring consumer claims against corporations in the UK as each individual would have had to 'opt-in' to the claim.
These US-style class actions require a representative which in this case is the former chief financial services ombudsman Walter Merricks. We look forward to this claim 'developing' into a payment for the benefit of all UK banking consumers who have been 'ripped off' by various bank card processing fees over a very long period of time. - 06.07.16
MPs To Quiz FCA Heads On Ditching Banks Probe - the banking review which had been part of the FCA's 2015 business plan was shelved last month. That decision sparked concern among some MPs that the watchdog was under pressure from the Government to soften its approach to banks. Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said recent decisions by the FCA were giving the impression of a "weakening of resolve". Mr Tyrie said: "The FCA's decision to drop its review of bank culture does seem curious."
The FCA was set up in 2013 after its discredited predecessor, the Financial Services Authority, failed to spot the financial crisis of 2007-9 coming or take on a string of mis-selling scandals. The Treasury last year ousted the FCA's hardline chief executive Martin Wheatley and has also eased rules making top bankers more accountable from next March. The watchdog has also said recently that it will take no action against HSBC over allegations of Swiss tax avoidance and shelved a report into incentive structures for financial product sales staff. The reputation of the banking sector has been tarnished by its role in precipitating the financial crisis and scandals such as the rigging of benchmark interest rates and the foreign exchange markets – which resulted in billions of pounds of fines.
But the FCA now says that rather than a full-scale review, engaging with banks individually is a better way of improving conduct. The committee is to assess the watchdog's efforts to meet its increased responsibilities over the last few years. Mr Tyrie said: "Getting it right – securing better protection for consumers and markets while at the same time ensuring they don't make life unduly burdensome for business, from which everyone would ultimately be the loser – is a big undertaking. "The committee will want assurance from the FCA that it is up to the job." - Sky News 7th January 2016
University of Essex- Prem Sikka - professor of Accounting at The University of Essex. Interesting material on issues of insolvency and accountancy practice -
Bank Reform: Osborne 'Lacks Motivation' - Sir Vince Cable has accused the Chancellor and Governor of the Bank of England of "lacking motivation" to crack down on abuses in the banking sector. Sir Vince - a fierce critic of the industry while in government - told the Murnaghan programme the decision showed that lobbying by the banks had clearly worked for them and that a "blind eye" was being adopted to abuses. He added: "What's happened now is that the balance has gone. The bankers are being listened to."Their complaints are taken on board and a blind eye adopted to abuses in the system."He made his comments as George Osborne prepares to name a new chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) after the ousting of Martin Wheatley last summer.The FCA's decision to drop the banking culture review - in favour of working with individual banks - further suggests that a better working relationship with the banks is being sought now they have largely recovered from the financial crisis fallout.- Sky News Monday 04 January 2016
IBAS Comment: Mr Wheatley's replacement will 'show' the FCA's 'future tone' for regulation. Mr Wheatley was ousted in the summer after Mr Osborne had decided sufficient time had passed since the financial crisis to require a "new settlement" between the City and regulators. But, there is a good deal of criticism that the Chancellor is now risking sending a too lenient a message to the City, as a continuing volume of misconduct penalties have been announced by regulators. “The FCA must not take their eye off the ball” – Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd said: “It’s disappointing that the regulator has decided against publishing this report on the culture of banking. Cultural change doesn’t happen overnight, so despite signs of improvement, the FCA must not take their eye off the ball and should continue to clean up the industry.” Which? response to the FCA scrapping their banking culture report - 31st December 2015
Andrew Bailey, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, CEO of the PRA and Accountable Executive for the HBOS Review said:“The story of the failure of HBOS is important both to provide a record of an event which required a major contribution by the public purse, and because it is a story of the failure of a bank that did not undertake complicated activity or so-called racy investment banking. HBOS was at root a simple bank that nonetheless managed to create a big problem.”
Report into the FSA’s enforcement actions following the failure of HBOS By Andrew Green Q.C. (full report download)
Eddy Weatherill said: This Report has been just too long coming. Many will now trawl through the report and find interesting 'snippets'. No doubt those already in litigation, will see from the report that 'light touch regulation' just didn't work. Because, this bank and importantly all other banks at that time, were allowed by the regulators to continue with allowing very lax management to oversee inadequate and out of date systems for recording and analyzing their own financial position. What this shows me - is that this bank lacked any real ability to manage itself properly well before it actually collapsed. So, even more worrying when Andrew Bailey says that HBOS: 'did not undertake complicated activity or so-called racy investment banking. HBOS was at root a simple bank that nonetheless managed to create a big problem.” The annexe 4 document is the signed Enforcement Referral Document (ERD) dated 26th February 2009 - this is particularly interesting to me as it evidences the complete inability of HBOS to know, chart or analyze the actual position within the HBOS Corporate Division from early 2007. The FSA described these as 'weaknesses' and these 'weaknesses' were apparently fully identified by the FSA by 17th October 2008.
On the question: Has there been actual or potential consumer loss/detriment? The answer was: 'Without the announcement of the takeover by Lloyds and extensive Government/Bank of England liquidity support, the firm was at risk of collapse with potential detriment to customers.'
On the question: 'Is there evidence of financial crime or risk of financial crime? The answer was: 'Yes. There was a potential risk of fraud and financial crime arising from poor systems and controls'.
From what we and others have seen, financial crime prospered from the bank's poor systems and controls. That's why many HBOS customer's businesses were destroyed. But, despite all the business failures only one HBOS senior employee has been properly reprimanded. - 20th November 2015
Tomlinson RBS report 'does include Ulster Bank' - There is evidence that Ulster Bank deliberately bankrupted some viable businesses to make more profit, a government adviser has said."One of the reasons I came over was I wanted to be absolutely clear that Ulster Bank was included in my report and dossier of evidence, even though they said it wasn't," he said. "I think Ulster Bank deployed exactly the same tactics that I outlined in my dossier of evidence and report." Mr Tomlinson said Ulster Bank was included in his report, commissioned by Business Secretary Vince Cable.
The Tomlinson report said there was evidence that RBS deliberately put some "good and viable" businesses into default so it could make more profit. His allegations centre on the bank's Global Restructuring Group (GRG) lending division, which specialises in handling loans seen as being more risky. His report says that putting a business into the GRG generated revenue for the bank through fees, increased profit margins and the purchase of devalued assets by their property division, West Register. "Having met 120 people last night and probably another 40 businesses today, it just reinforces exactly what I've got in my report and gives me more confidence that the Financial Conduct Authority will find major issues within GRG." On Wednesday, Sir Andrew (Large) told the Treasury Select Committee he had seen nothing to back up Mr Tomlinson's allegations. "There's an element of plausibility in the assertions that are in the Tomlinson report... but that doesn't mean to say I think those activities are actually happening. I didn't have any evidence of them," he said. - 23rd January 2014 BBC News Northern Ireland
Eddy Weatherill says: "IBAS has provided evidence of these bank tactics to regulators over many years from our case work and would endorse Mr Tomlinson's report as being factual but there is no surprise that Sir Andrew Large (who was commissioned by the bank to overview their lending policies) saw nothing, heard nothing and can therefore speak nothing to the Treasury Select Committee on RBS GRG matters. I would be much more surprised if he had! The bank is in denial at present and Sir Andrew Large was not employed by the bank to look into that specific area. However, the evidence is there for the FCA to do something about GRG and RBS deliberately distressing and destroying UK businesses purely for the bank's own profit - if the FCA have the mind to do so. That is our question - do they? and more importantly will they? Also, it is not just RBS which has pillaged business in the UK over the last few years in order to sell the business assets and make a profit for the bank out of business distress, whilst also 'cleaning up' by also claiming on the director's personal guarantees. RBS GRG will be a good start to such matters if the FCA does not renege on their duty. UK Businesses should not be forced into failure by banks when there is no need, particularly when the banks concerned are part owned by the UK Taxpayer"
Royal Bank of Scotland investigators appointed by City watchdog. Financial Conduct Authority names two outside firms to report on allegations RBS drove small businesses into administration. RBS's head of regulation, Jon Pain, said: "We welcome confirmation of the FCA's review and will support the process in every way we can. The full investigation of these issues is vital in order to protect the trust our customers place in us." RBS has already commissioned a City law firm, Clifford Chance, to review Tomlinson's allegations. Pain said any customer who is unhappy about the global restructuring group should contact Clifford Chance. - 17th January 2014 The Guardian
Eddy Weatherill says: "Have I got enough room for the comments I would like to make? No, just not enough room to say what needs to be said. But, Lawrence Tomlinson made a good start by publishing his report on RBS and GRG and what this bank has done and also their motivation for doing it. However, whilst RBS are a very good target and have manipulated businesses into defaults, they are not alone in destroying business in the UK. All banks have done it and for the same reasons - self interest, profit and greed. Nothing wrong with a good profit for a good service. But, UK businesses require much better service and much more intelligence from those who fund them. Also, Mr Pain is being somewhat devious by suggesting all those 'unhappy about the global restructuring group should contact Clifford Chance' because the bank instructed Clifford Chance ahead of the FCA investigations in an attempt to gain as much information as possible from the customers in order to defuse claims made in the Tomlinson Report. The tactics unfortunately are similar to the way in which Cruickshank's Report in 2000 was 'derailed' and lack of Government action to correct bank excesses then is part of the reason why the UK is now in the mess that we are.
'Shocking' Nature Of Banks' Transgressions. Fines totalling £90m for Britain's two state-backed lenders, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), were modest in the context of some of the penalties handed out to banks since the crisis of 2008. The nature of the transgressions, though, was arguably as shocking as anything seen in global banking during the last five years. – 12th December 2013 Sky Business News
Eddy Weatherill comments: The 'champagne bonus' and 'grand in the hand' initiatives for Bankers 'encouraged' to deliberately mislead customers to buy products which allowed the bank staff to feed off' their customer's naivety over several years continues to evidence the endemic dishonest banking culture in the UK. Even worse, that such a culture has continued despite the banking chiefs expressing 'appropriate levels of contrition' after being once again caught with 'their hands in the till'. Is it just our imagination, or are the banks ignoring the regulators when they feel like it and still encouraging staff to 'cream off' bank customers whilst publicly showing contrition? IBAS recent c omments are at Banking News and UK Comment 2014 - it's interesting to note the comments on our web site over the last few years and just how little was done then - or has been done up to the very recent past, to control banks and bankers from their own excesses and for which we are all now paying a very high price indeed. House of Commons Debate 12 November 2013 11am on Premier Motor Auctions (Hansard) Austin Mitchell MP
Review of banking for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK - Start date: 19 June 2013.
Publication date: Early in the New Year - Alongside the market study, the OFT will also be reviewing the undertakings given by certain of the banks following the Competition Commission's investigation into SME banking, which reported in 2002. These undertakings were aimed at improving transparency and facilitating switching by SMEs. A copy of the undertakings can be found on the OFT's register of orders and undertakings
The OFT will now be consulting parties active in the industry in addition to other government departments and various SME representative bodies. The OFT is also keen hear the views of individual SMEs as it continues its work. Anyone who would like to submit views can contact the OFT at email@example.com. Interested parties may submit their information by Monday 6 January 2014 to firstname.lastname@example.org Background - the OFT's programme of work into retail banking - On 19 June 2013 the OFT announced that it would complete a market study on competition in banking services for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). This market study is part of the OFT's continuing planned programme of work on retail banking, of which the first stage was a review of personal current accounts as concluded in January 2013.The OFT intends to use the evidence obtained, and analysis undertaken, during this programme of work to help inform the OFT's response to the ICB's recommendation that the OFT, or the CMA as its successor, consider making a market investigation reference of retail banking by 2015 if sufficient improvements in the market have not been made by that time.https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/blog is mySociety’s Freedom of Information site. You can use it to make FOI requests, and it publishes them – and the responses you receive – for everyone to see. You might think that making a Freedom of Information request is something that only journalists or investigators do. But actually, one of WhatDoTheyKnow’s aims is to show that anyone can access this right. If there’s something you want to find out, and the information is held by a public body, WhatDoTheyKnow makes it very easy for you to request it. - Eddy Weatherill on 19.12.13 http://www.financial-ombudsman-problems.co.uk/ Information on the Financial Ombudsman Service operation and FOS adjudicator's experience and 'qualifications', poor decisions and how they are made plus other issues and adverse publicity which you will not find on their website! If you are thinking of making a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service begin your research at this website before doing so including Natalie Ceeney FOS Chief Executive interview (Daily Mail 10th March 2012) - A '£200 million budget and an army of 1,900 staff' growing larger and 'although the FOS covers thousands of regulated businesses, just ten account for 70 per cent of its work. Lloyds Banking Group, astonishingly, accounts for 20 per cent of FOS cases on its own'.
It's interesting to note the comments on our web site over the last few years and how little was done then - or has been done (up to the very recent past) to control banks and bankers from their own excesses and for which we are all now paying a very high price indeed. Not only is that loss in lost jobs, income and opportunity throughout the UK but also the loss of opportunity for many going forward into a long period of low growth/ low expectation for employment with high cost for fuel and energy and also services. It is also sad to note, that despite the very high cost (to the country as a whole) that there is little evidence, so far, of bank or banker's contrition, or indeed what most bank consumers want and also desperately need. That is the prosecution of those in banking who crossed the line into criminal activity - Eddy Weatherill on 06.09.13
Bank Complaints Hit Record Amid PPI Scandal - Complaints about financial firms have surged to a record high as the effects of mis-selling continue to weigh on banks. The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) said new complaints rose 15% to 327,035 between January and June over the previous six months, driven by a 26% increase in complaints about payment protection insurance (PPI). Complaints about Lloyds Banking Group were almost five times higher than a year earlier, at 129,293 and rose 38% on the previous six months to make the part-nationalised lender the most complained-about group. Complaints about Lloyds Banking Group were almost five times higher than a year earlier, at 129,293. Lloyds was fined £4.3m in February by the Financial Services Authority for delaying PPI compensation to 140,000 customers. Barclays was the second-most complained about group in the FOS figures, with 44,223 cases lodged with the ombudsman, up 81% on a year earlier. The banking industry has so far set aside more than £18bn to cover the cost of PPI - more than double the cost of the Olympic Games. - SKY News 3 September 2013
Eddy Weatherill comments: "Lloyds Banking Group once more 'tops the polls' for the wrong reasons. Clearly, this bank has still not been brought under control either by the Regulators (now FCA) or by it's own management team. By now (after all the poor press about Lloyds Banking Group) it's management should have determined why they 'enjoy' such poor press. One would have expected better by now. The Lloyds Banking Group must be made to perform with honesty and integrity if the UK is ever to see banking consumer trust return. At present Lloyds Banking Group appears to require a more than gentle 'nudge' from the FCA to make it 'fit for purpose' where banking and banking trust is concerned."
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has been handed a dossier which its author says reveal banks’ “disturbing patterns of behaviour” towards small and medium-sized businesses. Government adviser Lawrence Tomlinson, who produced the research, said he had “exposed activity which flies in the face of the Government’s growth agenda”. Activities which “impede lending” include alleged malpractice in banks’ restructuring divisions. Mr Tomlinson accused banks of loading punitive charges on struggling companies to maximise returns and bonuses and of “making directors passengers in their own businesses”. - 01 August 2013 Daily Telegraph - Eddy Weatherill comments: "IBAS investigations of business banking cases endorse Lawrence Tomlinson's expose and it has been an IBAS concern for many years that banks have forced businesses to 'dance to the bank's tune' for bank profit whilst forcing a business into failure. We have seen how the banks do that and where IBAS is involved in such a case we fight very hard to protect the business and the individuals concerned. However, we would have appreciated much more 'assistance' from the the FSA/FCA to prevent more business failures occurring. We know and the Regulators also know that business failures occur sometimes because the banks see an opportunity for extra profit to prop up the banks. It is not a 'commercial decision' but a predatory and unfair trading decision when a bank plunders a business because it has the might to do so. It reflects the ineptitude and lack of understanding by the FCA/FSA of the unequal position faced by business when confronted by bank greed. The FSA having published the Principles 1-11 then allowed the banks to ignore the basic Principles of honesty and integrity on their 'watch'. UK Businesses have been destroyed because of that failure and Lawrence Tomlinson's expose will have the proof of that."
Vince Cable warned over bank turnaround units taking 'cut throat' approach to companies - Banks’ turnaround divisions are “exploiting” ailing firms rather than helping them, a government adviser has warned Vince Cable. Lawrence Tomlinson, who was brought in to the Business Department to represent entrepreneurs’ interests, fears that banks’ restructuring divisions are taking a “cut-throat” approach to customers. Companies can be placed in a lender’s turnaround division for breaching a covenant, when they have cash flow problems or difficulties meeting debt repayments, for example. - 09 July 2013 Daily Telegraph - Eddy Weatherill comments: " The exploitation of UK businesses by banks and their Insolvency professionals has long been an IBAS concern as well as others (see Austin Mitchel and Prem Sikka's: The Pin Stripe Mafia). IBAS believed that when the FSA Principles 1-11 were published by the FSA - that it would also mean the FSA would enforce those Principles. That just didn't happen. If Regulators do not regulate and also act to enforce (and penalize using their own regulation) then it's a certainty that businesses will be destroyed because banks are predators for their own benefit and profits." Libor scandal: Bankers discussed concerns in 2008 - Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner discussed concern about Libor interest rates as early as May 2008. Mr Geithner, who headed the New York Federal Reserve at the time, called for procedures to prevent misreporting. - 13.07.12 BBC Business News
Daily Mail 04/09/2009 - Backtrack on banking: Why Lloyds needs to be smaller, by the Chancellor who gave it a £17bn bailout - Alistair Darling has been forced into a major rethink over bailed-out superbank Lloyds. The Chancellor last night suggested that he wanted to slim it down to reduce its dominance after admitting that the financial sector needs much more competition. It represents an extraordice said: 'Unfortunately we are left with a giant which has not been through the proper competition channels. 'HBOS was handed to Lloyds on a plate. 'To correct that, the Government has now got to take the merger apart again.' IBAS comment - Firm, transparent and effective regulation has always been the ansinary reversal given that Gordon Brown rode roughshod over competition rules in personally approving the merger of Lloyds and Halifax Bank of Scotland last September.
Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott said: 'The Government have been making the rules up as they go along in the banking crisis and now they have been found out. Gordon Brown was only too happy to do a cosy deal which ruined Lloyds, and now they suddenly appear to have changed their tune. 'They are lurching from crisis to crisis.' Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Servwer for better banking and also consumer confidence. It is also a 'given' that Government should not be able to alter regulation 'on a whim'. The failure to implement those points so far means the UK cannot recover as quickly from recession as otherwise might be the case and growth remains poor. Protecting the banking industry at any cost has been counter productive for Government and the 'bailed out' banks are well known for exploiting weakness in Government. It's good to see the Chancellor admitting to error in this matter, but we can only hope the Government will learn the lessons quickly, before any more costly mistakes are produced. - 04/09/2009
The Bank of England's Financial Stability Report is not good reading and shows the extent of the problem created by banks and poor regulation. Robert Peston BBC Business Editor provides a good outline on his blog but the numbers are staggering. A recession lasting at least 3 years is very much on the cards now. Businesses will inevitably suffer as borrowing gets tighter. Many will fail as bankers look after themselves first - yet again! - 28/10/08
The head of the
Services Authority has warned the City that the era of light-touch
regulation is over The FSA chairman Lord Turner said: his body
would soon have "more people asking more questions" about the way the
financial sector was being run. And he said the watchdog would have more
room to do this because the current crisis had debunked the myth that
hands-off regulation was key to competitiveness. Well it's taken a
long time coming, but as we have been saying for a long time bankers
cannot regulate themselves. They will inevitably be regulated in future
with a somewhat 'heavier touch' - We cannot say anything but 'at last' and
good, but look at what it's cost to make this happen?
The head of the Financial Services Authority has warned the City that the era of light-touch regulation is over The FSA chairman Lord Turner said: his body would soon have "more people asking more questions" about the way the financial sector was being run. And he said the watchdog would have more room to do this because the current crisis had debunked the myth that hands-off regulation was key to competitiveness. Well it's taken a long time coming, but as we have been saying for a long time bankers cannot regulate themselves. They will inevitably be regulated in future with a somewhat 'heavier touch' - We cannot say anything but 'at last' and good, but look at what it's cost to make this happen? - 17/10/08
The government has been accused of "complacency" after it apparently ignored warnings in July about Icelandic banks facing collapse. Is your money still in Iceland? Is your local council's money still in Iceland? Also some UK charity funds are on deposit in Iceland and fear they have lost up to £120m of funds invested in failed Icelandic banks - Will the UK Government get the money back for any of these? - 10/10/08
Banks have been allowed too much 'rope' for too long. They are now 'hanging us all' with it. Light touch regulation is to blame and regulators who do not bite hard or quick enough are part of the problem. The solution is better and stronger regulation. This last six months has proved that our existing systems are not good enough. It will probably swing the other direction now, but banks only have themselves to blame for that. Unfortunately, banking consumers of all types will inevitably pay for both the bank mistakes and the correction which will follow. - Eddy Weatherill, Chief executive, the Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) - 14/02/08