UK Banks, MPs and Government

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Bank of Scotland fined £45m for failing to report HBOS fraud - Bank of Scotland has been fined £45.5m for failing to report suspicions of fraud at its Reading branch.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said there was “insufficient challenge, scrutiny or inquiry across the organisation and from top to bottom”.

The bank identified suspicious behaviour at its Reading-based impaired assets team in early 2007, the FCA said. The fraudsters pushed multiple small firms out of business, and stripped their assets for personal gain.

“BOS’s failures caused delays to the investigations by both the FCA and Thames Valley Police. There is no evidence anyone properly addressed their mind to this matter or its consequences.

“The result risked substantial prejudice to the interests of justice, delaying scrutiny of the fraud by regulators, the start of criminal proceedings as well as the payment of compensation to customers.” - City A.M. 21st June 2019 

FCA slammed over ‘whitewash’ RBS GRG report - The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today published its report into why it was unable to take enforcement action against senior individuals within the GRG, which has been accused of stripping its customers assets to shore up its own balance sheet at the time of the financial crisis.

Kevin Hollinrake MP, co-chair of the APPG on fair business banking, said: “This report is another complete whitewash and another demonstrable failure of the regulator to perform its role.

“The FCA must publish a full account of its findings including naming those responsible for the shameful mistreatment of thousands of UK SMEs.”

“Phase two of the FCA’s own final requirement notice was supposed to ‘consider the root causes’ and establish whether ‘the causes of such treatment were known about, authorised by and/or sanctioned by management within RBS Group’. They have manifestly failed to do this. - City A.M. 13th June 2019

TSB pledges to refund fraud victims - TSB has become the first UK bank to pledge to refund customers who fall victim to any type of fraud. 

The "fraud refund guarantee" will cover cases where customers are tricked into authorising payments to fraudsters, as well as unauthorised transactions. The move comes as the bank tries to rebuild its image after an IT meltdown last April left 1.9 million customers unable to access their own money.
Banks have been under pressure to help tackle the rise in sophisticated fraud. 

Richard Meddings, acting chief executive of TSB, told Radio 5 live's Wake Up To Money that the move was "about giving piece of mind to our customers and doing the right thing". He said: "It's a major societal blight. Innocent customers are being tricked." 

He added that the bank was investing in education for customers and staff about fraud, but also had a message for crooks: "If you come for one of my customers, we will hunt you down." – BBC Business News 15th April 2019 

IBAS comment: The latest TSB ‘pledge’ follows what was a PR and IT disaster which affected a great many SME’s/business banking customers. The FCA has still to publish it’s own findings whilst TSB itself commissioned an independent review from lawyers Slaughter and May to detail what went wrong and what lessons need to be learned. We look forward to reading both.

What we know is that Spanish bank Sabadell bought TSB in 2015 and in 2018 they attempted to move customer records from the old Lloyds Banking Group computer platform to the Sabadell Proteo platform and that proved to be a disaster as customers became ‘locked out’ of their accounts and some customers being given access to the confidential records of others.

The IT issues were many it seems and they continued for many weeks despite the bank's positive PR. TSB came under fierce criticism for the IT failings leading to a loss of circa £105m by the bank due to that ‘meltdown’ as the bank was forced to compensate customers and ‘put things right’

The good news for TSB is that shortly their new chief executive Debbie Crosbie will take over a bank which has a Common Equity Tier 1 capital ratio - a key measure of financial strength – which stands at 19.5% and is among the strongest of UK banks.

So, maybe the ‘new broom’ and also the ‘will’ is there for this bank to now turn the previous 2018 disasters into opportunity and by doing so also ‘show’ us all that it can become an SME ‘champion’. IBAS will watch with interest. – Eddy Weatherill - IBAS - 15th April 2019

MPs call for inquiry into alleged forgery of signatures. - MPs are pressing the Treasury Select Committee to open an immediate inquiry into the alleged forgery of signatures in bank court documents. 

They also want Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio to be questioned over how the bank treats customers who say they have found evidence of systemic fraud. 

The all-party group on fair business banking says Lloyds appears to be repeating the same conduct it displayed towards customers who uncovered the HBOS Reading fraud, seeking to silence them. 

Lloyds has denied there is evidence of systemic fraud and said it "does not recognise the issue" as set out by the group of MPs. 

Kevin Hollinrake MP, chair of the all-party group, made the call for an inquiry after getting what he says was an unsatisfactory response from the bank. 

The Civil Procedure Rules govern how law firms must behave in legal proceedings including repossessions. 

They state: Practice Direction 22 Statements of Truth 

3.9 The individual who signs a statement of truth must print his full name clearly beneath his signature. 

3.10 A legal representative who signs a statement of truth must sign in his own name and not that of his firm or employer 

Questions over signatures are not confined to Lloyds. This article cites four signatures which were purportedly all signed by the same person at a different company on the same day and further evidence suggests one person has been signing under more than one name. – BBC Business News 29th March 2019

IBAS has almost 30 years of continuous business banking dispute investigations and negotiations experience with all major UK lenders. We provide professional, confidential guidance and direct assistance to UK directors and proprietors.

IBAS has acquired specialist business banking knowledge from the many IBAS investigations of UK business banking account disputes since 1992 which has provided us with unique experience and depth of knowledge. 

IBAS business banking account investigations experience and our expertise in analysis of business bank loans, business bank current accounts, business banking contracts, business banking account facilities plus our knowledge of business banking debt recovery strategy - has provided us with expertise in utilizing our specialist banking knowledge. 

That is often the key to our members success and instrumental in almost miraculous settlements for IBAS members.

No other non - profit UK organization provides independent, specialist individual business banking advice and specific assistance to it's members.

IBAS website was launched in 1998 (see BBC publication with link to IBAS in 1999)

IBAS has been featured on BBC TV, BBC TV News, ITV News, Meridian TV and Sky TV News since 1992 and also contributed banking editorials and business banking articles for the Sunday Times, Times, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Telegraph and Daily Mirror.

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