There was a very interesting meeting in Westminster yesterday. It was a preliminary discussion about a proposal from Richard Samuel and Jeffrey Golden, both of 3 Hare Court Chambers, to consider a Tribunal system to resolve SME issues with banks. The meeting was chaired by Calum Kerr MP and Heather Buchanan. Heather and her team did a brilliant job of organising the meeting and there were some very interesting attendees.
This was an important meeting for SME Alliance because it gave us the opportunity to tell MPs, Peers, lawyers, barristers, academics, representatives of the Ministry of Justice and others, exactly what happens when banks abuse our sector. Yet again and as with our audience at the Symposium, people came up to me after the meeting and said how shocked they were at how badly some SMEs have been treated.
We came away feeling the meeting and the discussion were very positive. It's very early days but this is something we are keen to be involved with because, in lots of way the Tribunal idea is a progression of our FOS+ idea. I will keep everyone updated on what happens next.
I was really pleased to be able to give a short speech on behalf of our members which is posted below.
We'd also like to thank Damon Parker of Harcus Sinclair http://www.harcus-sinclair.co.uk/ Mark Humphries of Humphries Kerstetter http://www.humphrieskerstetter.com/ and James Haywood of RGL Management http://suerbs.com/ for being on our first panel and for answering our members questions. Some of the answers were quite eye opening and not least insight into how banks legal teams look at litigation against SMEs. And of course we want to thank the members of our own panel, Steve, Andy, Peter, Jon, Ray and Paul for their brilliant support. I never fail to be amazed at their collective knowledge on banking issues!
As yesterdays meeting proved, the legacy issues so many SME owners are still trying to resolve, are not going away and no one is giving up. It's all very well the senior management of RBS insisting they plan to re-create a trust worthy bank but this cartoon (sent by one of our members) says it all!
Sadly, the one picture we're missing is of our Chairman extraordinaire, Nick Gould, in his totally exclusive SME Alliance cap – which the Turner girls had made especially for him!