Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire and a member of the Treasury Select Committee, has highlighted new allegations that small and medium sized business were mistreated by Royal Bank of Scotland’s Global Restructuring Group (GRG).
Mr Norman was interviewed last week by Channel 4 News, which had been passed information by a whistleblower. RBS, which is 80% owned by the taxpayer, denies any wrongdoing.
GRG has already been criticised by Sir Andrew Large, a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England who reviewed lending practices at RBS. In testimony to the Treasury Committee Sir Andrew described the GRG’s model as “flawed”, and described allegations that it may have put companies out of business for its own gain as “plausible”. The group’s practices have also been severely criticised by Laurence Tomlinson, entrepreneur in residence to the Department for Business and Skills.
New documents seen by Channel 4 News and evidence from a whistleblower suggest that GRG:
- Deliberately increased customers’ fees "in order to weaken them"; and
- Stripped customers’ businesses of assets, in order to sell them on at a profit
Commenting, Mr Norman said: “These allegations are shocking if true. It is important to get to the bottom of them quickly.
“Small businesses in Herefordshire and up and down the country are struggling to secure bank credit on affordable terms. They would be appalled if it turned out that a division of a one of our largest banks, on which they relied on for support, had secretly been trying to run them into the ground.”