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McKay - Banking Practices must be more SME friendly

17 April, 2014

Sinn Féin Chair of the Assembly Finance Committee, Daithí McKay commenting on ‘Clifford Chance Review’ into the treatment of Small and Medium Business (SMEs) by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Global Restructuring Group following the economic collapse said it is cold comfort to those SMEs who were forced out of business.

Mr McKay said:

“The Clifford Chance report is an internal review commissioned by RBS to examine practices by RBS. Regardless of findings it is quite clear that SMEs have been victim of, to put it mildly, ‘bad practice’ by Ulster Bank the North of Ireland subsidiary of RBS.

“So called default interest charges from a customer’s perspective did not just feel like an additional cost at the point when they were least able to afford it – it was reality.

“However I welcome the recognition by the bank that changes are needed and they must now work to rebuild trust between themselves and local businesses. While the proposal to afford customers a 30 day notice period of any change in fees will provide some space to explore alternative arrangements it will still put serious pressure on many SMEs.

“The decision to dispose of what was known as its West Register whereby RBS purchased clients property as part of debt restructuring is welcome. This practice was seen by many clients as a form of land grab by an institution that held all the cards and was clearly a conflict of interest.

“I will closely follow developments to see just how quickly RBS move to improve transparency in its dealings with customers particularly around charges and fees and how they justify these in reference to future restructuring cases." 

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