19 January 2017
Government needs to act after full extent of SME banking scandal highlighted by MPs
The SME Alliance, which supports SMEs battling against fraud, corruption and misconduct in the financial sector, has demanded that the Government listens to call for action from MPs of all parties who highlighted the atrocious behaviours of banks and their advisors to SMEs.
More than 30 MPs, representing all the major parties in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, spoke at Thursday’s debate highlighting appalling cases of business people losing their business, livelihood, homes and families because of the actions of the banks and their professional advisors and demanding redress.
This was followed by a joint meeting of the SME Alliance and the All-Party Parliamentary Group of Fair Business Banking, where MPs including Clive Lewis and Norman Lamb, who sponsored Thursday’s debate, Kevin Hollinrake, incoming chair of the APPG, and Bill Esterson, Labour’s business spokesperson, joined a discussion with Anthony Stansfeld, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, and former MP George Kerevan, and business people harmed by the banks. Further examples of how the banks and advisors used bullying tactics to squeeze money out of SMEs, often causing them to lose their businesses, were aired.
Among the demands from MPs were for a tribunal that can deal with disputes between SMEs and their banks, as this part of banking is not under the remit of the Financial Conduct Authority. John Glen, The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said: “It is important to recognise the fundamental need for financial providers to act in accordance with the rules of the FCA and the spirit of its principles. When they do not act in accordance with those principles, we need to have confidence in the mechanisms that exist to resolve disputes.”
Nikki Turner, director of SME Alliance said: “The Economic Secretary appears to be moving in the direction of setting up a tribunal but what we need to see is concrete action from Government to redress the power imbalance between SMEs and their lenders.”
The SME Alliance, which was formed in September 2014 to support SMEs “battling against fraud, corruption and misconduct in the financial sector” and has led the fight for compensation for businesses harmed by the fraud at HBOS Reading (now owned by Lloyds Banking Group) and RBS, has committed to continuing the fight for victims of all the dreadful actions of those and other banks and their advisors.
Said Nikki Turner: “Yesterday’s debate showed the strength of support from all sides of the political spectrum for our fight and the banks, and their henchmen, should be on notice that we will be on their case.”
For further information contact Jason Nisse on 07769 6886618 firstname.lastname@example.org
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