Distressed businesses create RBS whistleblower website
25 May 2016 | 6598 views | 2
Small businesses who claim they were forced into liquidation by the activities of Royal Bank of Scotland's controversial Global Restructuring Group (GRG), have set up a dedicated whistleblowers Website to encourage bank staff to provide information on the unit.
RBS is facing legal claims by a coalition of small business owners who are seeking million of pounds in damages over allegations that they were forced out of business by the bank's GRG unit, which was created to handle loans classed as being risky.
The claimants allege that once moved under the supervision of GRG, otherwise healthy businesses were slapped with high rates and fees which forced them to collapse. They allege that the bank then moved to buy their property and assets at below the market rate for the benefit of its West Register property arm.
Stung by the accusations, RBS chief Ross McEwan commissioned a report by legal firm Clifford Chance in 2014 to investigate the allegations, but found no evidence of wrongdoing.
The new whistleblower site appeals to current and former RBS GRG staff to assist claimants by offering information that could help to "expose the culture within GRG" and might help the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in investigating the unit.
The FCA is currently into the final stretch of a long-awaited review of the activities of GRG, but has yet to issue its final report.
A spokesperson for ExposeGRG says: "The woes of hundreds of small businesses across the UK have been well documented, not least in the national press. ExposeGRG wants the practices of this department, along with other banks, investigated and we seek legislative change to protect future small business owners."
The backers of ExposeGRG say some staff have already come forward with new information.
"We know that most RBS GRG staff were decent people, some of whom must have been uncomfortable with what was going on," says the spokesman. "We have created ExposeGRG to give them a safe medium to say so."