Statement on 30 November debate - 22 November 2017

The APPG on Fair Business Banking has for years been leading the call for an independent, judicial dispute resolution system between businesses and banks. Over the last 18 months we have managed to secure agreement that this gap needs to be filled. What is required is a robust and independent body that can serve the needs of our business community, not the cheap political win that some are promoting.

We are delighted to have secured a debate in the main chamber on 30 November on creating an accessible, independent and transparent process to fillet out genuine claims and settle them fairly is essential to restore confidence in UK banks lending to SMEs – a sector that most believe is the seedbed of UK’s future prosperity.

This is not a difficult ask. Legislation exists to enable the rapid establishment of a tribunal system, the only thing we need is the political will to enact it.

It is time that the Government, FCA and Parliament step up to the plate to ensure that businesses get fair treatment and access to affordable justice. This has been a matter left too long to drift in the regulatory and legislative wilderness, and the consequences have been catastrophic not only to individual lives, but to confidence in our entire financial system.

Happily, there is a growing recognition among legislators and regulators that such a change must come, and we are delighted that the FCA has taken this on board. Our focus now must be on ensuring that the system set up is robust, inquisitorial and has the necessary teeth to deal with complex financial disputes.

Lord Cromwell said: “There is a dangerous temptation for politicians to be persuaded to take the easy way out and expand the remit of the FOS. This is a good service but simply not equipped or appropriate to tackle the sort of cases envisaged.”

“Once established, this tribunal system will help to ensure – through transparency and greater equality of arms – that banking, which is a vital sector of the UK’s national economy and international reputation, works better – not just in the interests of its customers but of the banking industry itself” Vice-chair Norman Lamb MP said: “It is essential that a robust dispute resolution scheme is put in place. Anyone working in a bank, however high up in the organisation they are, who are tempted to treat customers badly, must know that there will be serious consequences. Businesses must know that they are protected against arbitrary or inappropriate behaviour by the banks.”

Kevin Hollinrake, Vice-chair said: “Business lending is clearly vital to the health of our economy but it is also absolutely critical that borrowers have confidence that the terms and conditions are fair and that lenders are well regulated, accountable to a truly independent body and that there is an effective, easily accessible dispute resolution system should things go wrong. It is not just the money and businesses that have been lost, it is also the desperate human cost when someone’s life’s work is taken from them by faceless, uncaring and unaccountable financial institutions that are not only too big to fail but also too wealthy to sue.”

  1. After I refused to sell my NatWest Business Advisor a house he decided that he would pay me back by omitting facts from a business loan agreement, lying to me to induce me into signing an agreement that was not fit for purpose. I had asked the bank for a £10k loan but he had gone back to the bank and told them all the work was complete and only asked the bank for £2500.
    For this the bank was charging £4370 in admin fee & £36k interest over 1 year.
    As a result of his Fraud I lost £740k on two development projects.
    The current legal system does not fill you with belief when a judge at a hearing tells you £740k is not a lot to lose.
    There is no Justice.

  2. The root cause is the implosion of the Bond of Trust and failure of the judiciary and government to act honorably.

    No integrity morality and trust or truth let alone loyalty to ones customers.


  3. It wasn’t only those businessmen whose companies were put into GRG that were needlessly ruined. I am now in penury because of RBS instead of having a comfortable retirement which I should have had. In my eyes they are corrupt and crooked. I was taught that hard work pays. It doesn’t in this country when you are dealing with these gangsters.

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