There have been some surprising reports in the media about a police investigation into a British bank’s treatment of its SME customers. Apparently detectives are looking into whether their practices amounted to criminal behaviour.
The reported allegations apparently relate to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and whether staff there actually tried to force firms to the brink of insolvency so that the bank could grab and profit from their assets when they went bust by not helping them out with overdrafts, lending and cash flow when they faced tricky times at the height of the financial crisis.
The bank, and don’t forget 70% of the shares are still owned by the British taxpayer, acknowledged that it was aware of a complaint and has said they will cooperate fully with the Police Scotland investigation. It is believed that the specific charges are related to the now defunct global restructuring group (GRG) division at RBS.
They said: “RBS has recently become aware that Police Scotland are reviewing an individual complaint made against the bank. RBS is not privy to any details but will cooperate with any request for information made by Police Scotland.”
Police Scotland is presiding over the investigation and they say they have “received reports regarding the Royal Bank of Scotland and that enquiries are ongoing to assess if there is any criminality present in the allegations made within these reports”.
Last November, RBS said it would pay £400m to recompense a number of small businesses found to have been badly treated by the bank by the GRG division. The fund was established to recompense fees they were charged erroneously. And fresh complaints could be made for alleged mistreatment of small firms between 2008 and 2013 in a process that will be overseen by a retired high court judge.
Have you been affected by these RBS problems?