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Banking News & UK Comment 2014

Bank Culture Reforms 'Will Take A Generation' - A report finds UK banks still have much to do to restore trust following a series of scandals including the mis-selling of PPI. It identified a total of £38.5bn in fines and redress paid by banks as a result of retail bank failures - the majority blamed on the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI). Banks were found to have received 20.8 million complaints since the financial crisis. The report said: "Given the current rate of change, a radical overhaul will take a generation."An entire generation of staff have been raised, and some instances promoted, in an aggressive sales culture”. - 26th November 2014 Sky Business News

Eddy Weatherill comments: "Banks were allowed to rip off customers using 'get rich quick schemes' by successive governments over a long time. Only now is this Government prepared to make banks pay for bringing the country to it's knees and it's going to be a long haul to correct such gross negligence over at least 25 years by previous governments. The FOS was born originally as the Banking Ombudsman in 1986 because of the large number of complaints against banks. Banks took the incentive offered by Government to pay for the Banking Ombudsman to prevent legislation. But, proper Banking Regulation and Supervision has been a long time in coming and again it is only recently that the FCA started to 'drive back the tide' of banking excesses. But, will UK bank customers be able to trust the banks that created this mess - ever again? That is the question."

RBS 'wanted critic Tomlinson's mortgage back' - A businessman who wrote a government report that criticised RBS has been told he can no longer remain a customer of the bank, Panorama has learned. In the 2013 report, Lawrence Tomlinson accused RBS of systematically wrecking viable businesses. And in 2014, RBS deputy chief executive Chris Sullivan told him he would have to take his mortgage, business and personal accounts to another bank. The bank eventually backed down over the mortgage on his home but Mr Tomlinson had to find new bankers for his business, which employs more than 2,000 people. Lloyds has also been accused of adding additional fees and interest when struggling companies are moved to its Business Support Unit. Lloyds customer Ross Finch said the Business Support Unit had been anything but supportive and his hotel business had been charged an extra £298,000 in one year after being transferred to it. - By Andy Verity BBC Panorama 24th November 2014  

Eddy Weatherill comments: 'The Panorama programme showed just why banks cannot be trusted by UK businesses. Also, why the big banks need to be broken up quickly. UK Businesses need 'support', but not the type of 'support' demonstrated by the banks in this programme. Support is rarely provided by any bank specialist recovery unit but to deliberately miss represent the bank's plundering of UK businesses as being a form of bank 'business support' or as 'specialist business support units' is yet another blatant and deliberate invention by big banks to distort what they are really doing. What Panorama illustrated is that the banks were deliberately plundering businesses which were seeking (and were promised) 'bank support' with higher and more questionable charges and fees and then selling off or just 'taking' entrepreneur's businesses and their assets for themselves.' - 'Lawrence Tomlinson has acted as a catalyst in all of this and needs not only support for putting his 'neck on the block' for others but also great credit for his own financial bravery in doing so'.

Tesco customers to be paid £43m after blunder by firm's banking arm - Online Tesco Bank admitted it breached industry rules and is handing back interest and charges to 175,000 loan and credit card customers for the period the statements were delayed. Watchdogs praised the compensation decision. Eddy Weatherill of the Independent Banking Advisory Service said: “Tesco have held their hands up. For that I applaud them and I applaud them even more for compensating customers. The big four banks would have waited for the regulators to intervene.” - 1st November 2014 - Mirror Money - City News

Eddy Weatherill further comments: 'Tesco as a new entrant to the banking marketplace made a mistake but owned up to it and dealt with it - so that customers did not lose out. That is not only refreshing but also a big lesson for the major banks, who still have not learnt that without their customers they are nothing and that good PR can be obtained if they act honestly.'

NAB bank flags Clydesdale and Yorkshire sale in UK exit - Chief executive Andrew Thorburn said: "We have an intention to exit the UK... What we are signalling is that's our intent, it is an absolute priority." Together, Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank have more than 320 branches. Earlier this year NAB announced a plan to close around 30 branches and invest £45m in its UK business. - 30th October 2014 BBC News Business

Eddy Weatherill comments: ''This bank took on property debts from other banks without knowing the full extent of their lending in that sector. When they found out how badly they had got it wrong they reneged on the customer's agreements any way they could - leaving many thousand with property portfolios and in a desperate position. This bank then sat on that situation, provided the customer with no direction and no real support with debts they could neither move or pay off. Not a glorious period for this bank or the regulators who allowed such excess without the bank having proper banking systems or supervision to control such excesses. No wonder bank customers do not trust banks or the banking system. This bank's customers are now left with a very unpleasant 'after taste' - having not only been dumped but also being dumped into very deep waters by this bank - simply because they banked on and with Clydesdale or the Yorkshire Bank. Shame on the regulators too for allowing the bank to build up property debt portfolios then exit so easily whilst providing customers with no life lines to cling to! These customers were with the wrong bank in the wrong sector at the wrong time. A phenomenon seen in the last recession which also bankrupted so many. But, back in the early 1990s we had no real banking regulator - did we? We have the FCA now - but what were the FSA doing when this bank got it so badly wrong? and why should this bank's customers be left to pay for such a shabby mess?' - 31.10.14

Crooks posing as banks set to trick millions out of their savings & Millions of customers vulnerable to fraud, warn banks The UK's High Street banks are warning that millions of account holders are vulnerable to fraud - online or over the phone. With help from the police, the banks have now launched campaign to make customers more aware of the threat. They have published a list of eight things that a bank will never ask account holders to do. The list includes asking for a full Pin or a banking password over the phone, or via email. "Being defrauded is a devastating experience for anyone, which is why we are launching this campaign," said Anthony Browne, the chief executive of the British Bankers Association (BBA). - 14.10.14

Eddy Weatherill comments: "We have noticed the growing trend of virulent email 'packages' and 'phishing' mails which alone evidence a large scale 'activity' by very organized criminals attempting to obtain access to individuals personal and bank card account/s and banking information. Fraudsters now use all available methods of communication and are ably assisted by the naivety of individuals. Posting personal information on face book and other social media platforms allows access for many collecting personal information for others to use. By sending computer messages/texts and accessing 'smart' devices by app infiltration criminals gain control of financial information for their use. In my opinion the public is now much more at risk from large scale financial frauds than at anytime in the last 20 years. It requires much more than one 'campaign' of awareness to protect the many vulnerable people - although this campaign is a start." - 14.10.14

"The FCA publishing complaints and breakdowns allows banking customers to see how their bank is doing on complaint solving and what sort of complaints are being dealt with and how. Many of the major banks are still 'resisting' complaints and still 'shaving down' legitimate compensation claims where they can 'get away with it'. They know the FCA cannot watch everything they do. That is evident from what the FCA has so far published. Major UK banks still have a major 'problem' with image and management perception of what is still required from the banking industry to correct the lack of customer trust in their banks." - 13.10.14

Source: FCA Press Release 25/09/2014 - Complaints fall by 5%: PPI, current accounts and general insurance still most complained about products

Watchdogs Pursue 'Debt Letter' Tactics Regulators for the City and solicitors confirm they are examining a widespread tactic to pursue debts owed to banks and utilities. The City watchdog has urged people to send it copies of letters from debt recovery companies purporting to be working on behalf of high street names. The Financial Conduct Authority's request comes amid reports that some banks and utility companies have sent 'bullying letters' to those in arrears over payments. The letters may appear to be written by outside debt agencies, with only a passing mention of an in-house connection between debt collector and creditor. The City regulator told Sky News: "The FCA is unable to comment on the activities of individual firms, but we are aware of these reports. "We would request that anybody who has further information about this type of practice passes it onto the FCA." The Solicitors' Regulation Authority (SRA) said it was investigating a number of complaints that have given it "cause for concern".

SRA executive director Richard Collins said: "We will shortly be issuing guidance for in-house solicitors on our existing requirement that publicity must not be misleading. "This will make it clear that they cannot use forms of words that give the impression that they are an independent law firm and not employed solicitors."

Eddy Weatherill comments: "The tactic of using what appears to be an 'outside legal firm' for bank debt collection is very old indeed. The FCA should have been aware of it prior to the Wonga 'debate'. The fact that they were not and have previously not restricted such 'unfair' and deceptive practices provides the evidence of just how far removed from reality the FCA actually is at present. It also shows how much work they need to do to 'catch up' on banker's deceptions. In my opinion, this is yet another example of banker's lack of honesty and integrity. FCA - Please Note: The FCA states that: The Principles are a general statement of the fundamental obligations of firms under the regulatory system

FCA Handbook 'Breaching a Principle makes a firm liable to disciplinary sanctions. In determining whether a Principle has been breached it is necessary to look to the standard of conduct required 1.1.7 FCA PRA by the Principle in question. Under each of the Principles the onus will be on the appropriate regulator to show that a firm has been at fault in some way. What constitutes "fault" varies between different Principles. Under Principle 1 (Integrity), for example, the appropriate regulator would need to demonstrate a lack of integrity in the conduct of a firm's business.' Dear FCA, Banks collecting debts and putting pressure on those in debt by posing as someone else under a different name - is that enough of a demonstration for you?" - 7th July 2014.

PPI: Compensation payouts could have £1bn shortfall - Some leading banks may have underpaid compensation certain customers are due for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance, the BBC has learned. One expert, commissioned by the BBC, estimates it could amount to "somewhere in the region of £1bn". The customers potentially affected had PPI on credit cards issued by Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, MBNA and Capital One.

Principal Ombudsman Caroline Wayman told the BBC that under the rules, there is no doubt fees and charges triggered by mis-sold PPI premiums have to be refunded to customers. "If a fee is the result of the mis-sold PPI, it should be given back, and if it's not included, that would be a mistake," said Ms Wayman. Ms Wayman says credit card customers who suspect their fees and charges were left out of their compensation calculations should go back to their banks to ask what happened. "If you're not satisfied with the answer, bring it to the ombudsman and we can see what we can do," she said. FOS has handled about a million PPI compensation cases, with some 400,000 more still in the pipeline. Last year, FOS took on 1,000 new staff to help deal with that backlog. That caseload is now likely to grow. But Mr D'Arcy says the Financial Conduct Authority should take the initiative and instructs banks that "charges and the interest on them should be repaid to each and every customer in each and every case" 5th June 2014 - .BBC News & Business.

Eddy Weatherill comments: " The banks cheated many of their customers by imposing PPI on them and are continuing to cheat them on PPI compensation payouts (as we said they would when we said: "We can see this bill for compensation growing by the minute as banks attempt to reduce their exposure to PPI claims by fair means or foul - you decide which - would you trust them to be fair?" - 11 June 2013). Of course we do not anticipate that banks will start being fair - they got away with cheating customers a long time ago and then just continued - because they could.

Where cheating is concerned banks are predictable and the FCA should by now be able to 'pick up on it' very quickly and penalize accordingly - also very quickly - but they do not - and have not. We support Mr D'Arcy's statemen. We agree that the FCA should and we believe must instructs banks that "charges and the interest on them should be repaid to each and every customer in each and every case" because the FCA must lead from the front. That should be even more important where the bank strategy is to continue cheating their customers. Unfortunately, the FOS is not the force it should be on PPI and relying on the FOS does not make sure customers are properly compensated. That is because the FOS is too accepting of what they are told by banks and when the bank says they cannot provide information ( which should be a warning sign to the FOS that the bank does not want to show or share that information) they just accept it. Most claims companies will work much harder for their ' percentage' in 'chasing' the compensation. Therefore, using the FOS (whilst cheap) may mean you 'lose' part of your claim because the FOS cannot properly investigate your claim if they do not obtain all the information necessary to properly investigate all the issues. Plus, banks know how the FOS works and from experience know the FOS is a 'soft touch' and will take an easy option/s when offered them.

Exclusive: The state of access to bank finance by the government's entrepreneur-in-residence - Posted by Lawrence Tomlinson in FinancesBusiness trendsRegulation on Wed, 23/04/2014 

Lawrence Tomlinson says:  'trust in the current banking system has been dramatically corroded.' and that: 'Businesses are not ignorant of this (i.e. that there is no discernible change in the banking market place to prevent 2018 becoming the next 2008) so trepidation will remain and growth will continued to be stifled until we see real change in the banking market. This requires breaking up the big banks to make sure we have a varied and responsive banking landscape that can fulfil business needs, be more accountable and demonstrate sustainability and stability for the long term'.

Eddy Weatherill says: The challenge for Government is to not only break up the big banks so that they can never again inflict so much damage on the UK - but also (and at the same time) create a better alternative structure and strategy, which can then allow UK businesses and entrepreneurs proper opportunity to start a business with confidence, grow it, function and prosper – all so they will provide a better and more sound future which can benefit us all.

Meanwhile RBS buries West Register as Clifford Chance report states: However, RBS acknowledge there was a damaging perception that the bank had a conflict of interest when it purchased a property as part of a restructuring process,'

Eddy Weatherill says: 'This is not a small or trivial matter, The 13 subsidiaries that made up West Register controlled rights and bad loans of a 1300 strong residential portfolio with assets worth £1.17billion at end of last year. Many businesses were bankrupted to enable the bank to divert those assets for the bank to 'sit on'' for later use'.

RBS accused of diversion over malpractice report Bank accused of misdirecting attention from lawyer's true findings. RBS has been accused of using diversionary tactics by Lawrence Tomlinson, an adviser to Vince Cable, after a report into accusations of malpractice by the bank. Tomlinson told the Sunday Herald the substance of the RBS report, conducted by lawyers Clifford Chance, corroborates many of his findings about the bank's Global Restructuring Group (GRG), which is accused of deliberately undermining viable client companies. - Sunday 20 April 2014 Herald Scotland

Eddy Weatherill says: The 'damaging perception' of the RBS conflicts of interest is not a matter which has been removed, even though the bank has made a PR exercise out of Clifford Chance's report in response to Lawrence Tomlinson's allegations/report. The Clifford Chance report was written after 'investigating' just (a 'selective') 100 GRG cases – IMHO it was not ever seeking to find 'evidence' of wrongdoing by the bank. Does anyone really believe that was the intention? Seems more likely, (and of course we are very cynical where the UK banking industry is concerned), that Clifford Chance was required by the bank to get a speedy report out to attempt to defuse the situation and lead the FCA 'by the nose'. How nice it would be, if the UK public had the huge resources available to them to do the same in reverse!

What is most worrying is that this bank (along with all other banks) still believe the UK public is stupid enough to believe in a report paid for by the bank, or view it as anything other than a 'whitewash' for the bank's benefit (which is still the 'norm' in such cases where banks attempt to devalue criticism). Banks are still apparently in a period of denial and non acceptance of their own transgressions.

Fortunately, the FCA has still to offer any response to it's own investigation into Lawrence Tomlinson's allegations and his report. One hopes the FCA will not just look at the same 'selective' 100 cases and that their report will conclude matters by levying a very large fine on RBS for 'trashing' so many entrepreneurs, their families and their businesses and by the bank profiteering from their actions at the same time. There can be no double standards now where bank integrity is concerned and it is time for the real 'clean up' of UK banking to commence. - 3rd May 2014

Eddy Weatherill says: 'If you are completely fed up with your bank's lack of honesty, ethics or integrity, and the very poor press banks are still providing - look elsewhere at: Ethical Consumer where their research and rankings help power the Move Your Money switching site. If we just accept and do not question what is on offer nothing will change!'

Lloyds stake sale raises £4.2bn The government has sold a second block of its shares in Lloyds Banking Group overnight raising £4.2bn.Lloyds shares fell almost 5% on Wednesday, falling to below 75.5p, the price at which the 7.8% block was sold. The sale cuts the government's holding in the bank to 24.9%, down from an original 39%. The price remains above the average 73.6p a share the government paid to rescue the bank in the autumn of 2008. The sale price is only 0.5p a share more than the price achieved in September when it sold a 6% stake raising £3.2bn.The chancellor said the sale was "good value" for the taxpayer, and the money would be used to cut the national debt. "It is another step in repairing the banks, in reducing our national debt and in getting the taxpayer's money back," George Osborne said. - 26th March 2014 - BBC Business News

Eddy Weatherill said: "Reducing the national debt from the sale of LTSB's shares is good because the National Debt increased dramatically due to the financial problems created by the banks and also for UK Business Bank customers and bank consumers. We require a much higher profit from the sale of the remaining 24.9% of Lloyds shares to 'put the UK back into the same position' prior to the bank bailouts. So, in my opinion not enough has been received as redress from the banks. As for 'another step in repairing the banks' - in my opinion that comment was highly optimistic but also premature seen against the very poor press still being generated from the very underhand and cheating methods used by those very same banks. Until banks stop cheating their customers nothing can change or be properly 'repaired'. "

Lloyds accused of short-changing PPI claimants Lloyds Banking Group has been cutting the compensation it pays to payment protection insurance (PPI) claimants, a BBC investigation has revealed. PPI expert Cliff D'Arcy told the BBC Lloyds had saved more than £60m over the past year by cutting compensation. Lloyds refused to be interviewed on the issue. - 25th March 2014 BBC Business News

Eddy Weatherill said: "No surprises, LTSB lead the banking 'pack' in 'poor press' on issues of fairness and transparency for customers. Some would call it cheating and certainly lacking integrity - contrary to the 'Principles'? - LTSB total PPI mis-selling bill has already reached £9.8bn, three times more than bailout rival RBS (see Insurance mis-selling continues to haunt the taxpayer-backed bank, with a total bill provision now reaching almost £10bn. I wonder what the FCA is doing about this further revelation of the bank cheating it's customers?"

US regulator sues 16 banks for alleged Libor rigging - Sued banks include Barclays, HSBC, Citigroup and Royal Bank of Scotland. Other banks named in the lawsuit include Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Bank, Credit Suisse, UBS, and Rabobank. The British Bankers' Association (BBA) has also been sued by the regulator - the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). "BBA participated in the alleged scheme to protect the revenue stream it generated from selling Libor licenses and to appease the Panel Bank Defendants that were members of the BBA," it was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. The FDIC alleged that the banks mentioned in its lawsuit rigged the rate from August 2007 to at least mid-2011. - 14th March 2014 BBC Business News

Eddy Weatherill said: "The scale of rate rigging and the length to which banks and their 'helpers' will go to cheat the system for their own benefit should concern us all. But, each phase of banking 'revelation' appears to evidence a culture which is so intent on cheating, that it is almost beyond redemption."

RBS hires private detective to search Experian credit file - A legal dispute resulted in the bank using a private eye to access a customer's credit rating file. Last year Gary Gadston was immersed in a legal battle with NatWest over a property deal (the case later went to court and a settlement was reached in November). He decided to request a copy of his Experian credit report to check there was nothing nasty lurking that he needed to know about. He was delighted to see that his credit score was the maximum 999 but less delighted to see that a search of his file had been made in May last year by a company he had never heard of, Hogan & Co.

Gadston, 55, contacted Hogan International to find out more, saying that a search of a credit report required the individual's consent, "and I am unaware of any such consent being given". He received a letter from the firm saying the search was carried out in its capacity as "agents acting on behalf of Royal Bank of Scotland".

In its reply RBS's law firm, Shoosmiths, didn't provide any clear explanation as to why Hogan International was involved; instead, the letter said it was legitimate for the bank to commission a search of Experian's database in order to consider things such as the costs that would be incurred in going ahead with a court case, and possible settlement options. Shoosmiths also claimed Gadston had previously given consent to NatWest and the RBS group by signing bank documents back in 2006 that made clear how it used credit reference agencies. - The Guardian, Saturday 11 January 2014

Eddy Weatherill said: "It should be of concern to MP's and taxpayers alike, that banks who were 'rescued by the Government appear to have plenty of funds available for them to instigate dubious, dishonest or 'dark' tactics to further their success in any bank litigation/bank debt recovery action. It appears obvious that this is and was a very unfair tactic. Particularly, when used to increase the bank's chance of success in legal's, where there is already a heavily biased and tilted 'playing field'. That 'playing field' is so well 'tilted' towards banks and against all bank consumers that banks should not require any more assistance. The FCA needs to conduct serious research and investigation into just how much those banks (which have taken government funds) have actually spent in areas of 'legal's' and banking litigation, against their tax paying customers since they were 'rescued' themselves. With such dubious tactics to prevent access to justice whenever and wherever possible, there is no wonder that bank internal complaint systems are still so very poor in serving banking customer needs or that banking litigation and court actions are so well favoured by the banks."

£75 trillion payment systems industry to have new regulator - Every year these payment systems process over 7 billion transactions, worth over £75 trillion. Martin Wheatley, FCA chief executive, said:This sector is critical to the economy so it must reflect the needs of people and firms and enjoy their confidence. We need to know if the sector is as open as it should be to new entrants into the market and whether consumers are getting the best possible deal.”

The largest payment systems are owned and managed by the big banks, but concerns have been raised that the sector lacks transparency and innovation.

The FCA’s ‘call for inputs’ will help shape the focus of the new regulator’s work. Responses should be sent to paymentsystems@fca.org.uk by 15 April 2014. - FCA Press Release - 5th March 2014

Eddy Weatherill said: The objectives: 'that it also needs to be easier for challenger banks to access these systems and compete with the bigger players' - 'to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers' is well overdue, probably 13 years overdue, since Cruickshank's report in 2000, when he said the bank already had a monopoly in that area. See 'Competition in payment systems' where: 'The Cruickshank report found serious competition problems and inefficiencies in the market for the provision of payment services.  In his 2000 Budget Speech the Chancellor announced his intention to legislate to open up access to payment systems and to oversee access charges.  A consultation document "Competition in Payment Systems" setting out the Government's proposals was issued in December 2000.  Revised proposals, taking account of comments received during consultation were published in August 2001.'

'So, do not delay, if you have issues/high costs imposed on your business by non competitive bank payment systems - have your say now and send to paymentsystems@fca.org.uk by 15 April 2014'

RBS Seeks Trust As Six-Year Losses Top £46bn - The bank confirmed new cost savings of £5bn over the next four years - reported earlier by Sky New - with its focus shifting back to the UK and further away from investment banking. It was its investment arm that accounted for most of its bonus pool for 2013, which had shrunk by 15% to £576m, though the scene was set for further reductions in later years as RBS said it would concentrate on serving personal and business customers. The Business Secretary Vince Cable said of it: "I am pleased by the overall direction of travel of RBS, getting away from the disastrous obsession with scale and risky casino banking of the Fred Goodwin years, focusing instead on British customers and British business. "But British taxpayers are still paying for the terrible mistakes of the past and I see no sign yet of a turnaround in the continuing decline of net lending to small business.' 27th February 2014 - Sky Business News

A Rash of Deaths and a Missing Reporter – With Ties to Wall Street Investigations

In a span of four days last week, two current executives and one recently retired top ranking executive of major financial firms were found dead. Both media and police have been quick to label the deaths as likely suicides. Missing from the reports is the salient fact that all three of the financial firms the executives worked for are under investigation for potentially serious financial fraud.

The deaths began on Sunday January 26th 2014 in London. - 3rd February 2014 - Wall Street on Parade

Update: See related article: Suspicious Death of JPMorgan Vice President, Gabriel Magee, Under Investigation in London 

Update 2See related article: JPMorgan Vice President’s Death in London Shines a Light on the Bank’s Close Ties to the CIA

 

Eddy Weatherill said: 'Just too many coincidences for even the most trusting person to swallow and our 'news hounds' should be all over why and how these events connect with JPMorgan & Deutsche Bank in London - not just accepting what they are told. Once again it is what we do not know which is concerning. Banking affects all our lives, whether we like it or not and it seems that a great deal of misery that may well be 'around the corner' for us all is still being deliberately hidden from our view'.

 

RBS shares fall after biggest loss since financial crisis - Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have fallen sharply after the troubled company reported its biggest annual loss since being rescued by the UK government during the financial crisis. The bank's pre-tax loss for 2013 was £8.2bn, compared with £5.2bn in 2012. Its shares were down by more than 9% to around 320p. The average price paid by the government in 2008 was 500p.

Ross McEwan, RBS's newly appointed chief executive, told the BBC the results were "very sobering". The fall in RBS's share price has wiped almost £2bn off its stock market value.Mr McEwan announced that RBS, once one of the world's largest banking groups, would continue to shrink, by reducing its international and investment operations. The group, which includes NatWest and Ulster Bank, will concentrate instead on the retail market in the UK, and on getting the "basics of everyday banking right". Its seven operating divisions will be transformed into just three customer businesses: personal, commercial and corporate.

As part of this "back to basics" approach, the group will offer simpler retail products, cut the length of time it takes to set up a current account, and reward the loyalty of existing customers, rather than offering "sweeteners" to new joiners. It will also increase lending to small businesses.

Talking to the Today programme, Mr McEwan said it would take three to five years for the bank to recover. "People - including the executives of the bank - didn't realise how big a change process we had to go through to get this bank back into shape," he said. "We're in the least trusted industry and we're one of those banks that aren't trusted."

William Wright, a consultant at New Financial, told the BBC that the group had "shrunk by nearly half" since 2008, and had shed a section of its business equivalent to the size of Lloyds. Its cost-to-income ratio currently stands at 73%, but RBS has set a target of getting this down to about 55% by 2017. The company's results come a week after UK newspapers speculated that thousands of jobs would be cut at the bank over the coming year. - 27th February 2014 - BBC Business News

Eddy Weatherill said: 'At least Mr McEwan recognizes the fact that: "We're in the least trusted industry and we're one of those banks that aren't trusted." As I have told them today: ' Only a bank could have survived to this point with so many 'own goals'. To gain back the trust of customers this bank needs to take a serious look at every person employed and remove all who have endorsed 'rip off the customer' practices - including GRG and 'Specialist Lending' groups, set up to 'fleece' business customers, already struggling to survive.' But, 'Transforming a bank with an honesty problem, which also lacks basic customer service will be a monumental challenge which will require a unique approach not just a 'back to basics idea' for this bank to 'reinvent itself'. If they adopt their normal 'inside the box' thinking which has created so many problems, then transforming this bank will be impossible.

Supermarkets and banks: Can supermarkets steal more of big banking's business? Tesco Bank has been independent, although under different names since 2008. Sainsbury's Bank has recently split from a joint venture with Lloyds. Originally, supermarkets entered the sector by signing up with the big banks.That is still the case for M&S Bank, which although being the only one to offer a current account, is wholly owned by HSBC. The shift has come from Tesco, the UK's largest supermarket chain, which was once in a joint venture with RBS. Since 2008, it has gone it alone, and now has a fully branded Tesco Bank based in Edinburgh. While it has just opened its seven millionth customer account, it is far smaller than the High Street banks. Sainsbury's has just done something similar, cutting its links with Lloyds Banking Group. All of them offer a range of financial products, such as credit cards, a host of insurance policies for homes, pets and cars, and travel money.

For these products, the supermarkets have featured on the best-buy tables. A current account from Tesco has been expected for years, but the difficulty is that the retail giant needs to attract customers who already have accounts elsewhere, and that is difficult with so much consumer inertia in banking. Switching has become quicker and easier for bank customers. The new Switch Guarantee means current account holders should be able to move to another provider within seven days. But if supermarkets can clear the structural hurdles, they already have considerable loyalty from customers via reward schemes and could enter mainstream banking. "It is another area of operation for them, and it is an obvious one for them to expand into because they know so much about their customers, and they have so many customers," says David Black, banking specialist at Consumer Intelligence. "There is also the issue that the banks have a slightly bad reputation among many. So if [supermarkets] can capitalise on that, and use their marketing muscle to showcase their products in the banking and insurance world, they can pick up quite a few customers. They will become a real worry to the banks." - 21st February 2014  - BBC News

Eddy Weatherill said: 'UK Banks have ripped off their customers repeatedly over many years and switching is now easier, so Tesco may provide the first real challenge to the banks. It's also good that Tesco severed links with Royal Bank of Scotland because the 'service' aspect, along with bank honesty has all but disappeared in UK banking and the RBS has attracted a great deal of media attention for all the wrong reasons. Retailers could soon prove to be the answer for all those wanting a good, reliable and honest banking service.'

Insurance mis-selling continues to haunt the taxpayer-backed bank, with a total bill provision now reaching almost £10bn. Lloyds has amassed the largest provision for mis-selling by Britain's high street banks. Its total PPI mis-selling bill has reached £9.8bn, three times more than bailout rival RBS. The bank, which owns both the Halifax and Bank of Scotland, now expects 550,000 complaints about PPI. Business claims continue to mount for Lloyds and it has set aside an additional £130m over mis-selling related to small and medium-sized businesses. - 3rd February 2014 - Sky Business News

Eddy Weatherill said: 'Total bank provisions for PPI compensation are now close to £20 billions and it appears that Lloyds were responsible for half the total problem. It is a massive failure of trust and integrity for one bank to be responsible for half the total of PPI claims. Could the message be clearer? Will the FCA now wake up and watch this bank more closely?'

Natalie Ceeney Joins HSBC: Top 5 Regulators Being Poached By Banks - On 31 January, the Financial Ombudsman Services former chief executive, Natalie Ceeney, jumped ship and joined HSBC as its head of customer services. Ceeney became FOS CEO in 2010 after a stint at the National Archives, where she became one of the youngest chief executives in the UK, at the age of 34. - 31st January 2014 - International Business Times

Eddy Weatherill said: 'Banks pay 'top dollar' for these people, so it should be no surprise that Ms Ceeney takes her knowledge of the FOS to HSBC, where she will be working for the bank to defeat complaints. Knowing the FOS system as she does, that can only make banking complaints against the HSBC through the Financial Ombudsman Service that much tougher.'

Tomlinson RBS report 'does include Ulster Bank' - There is evidence that Ulster Bank deliberately bankrupted some viable businesses to make more profit, a government adviser has said."One of the reasons I came over was I wanted to be absolutely clear that Ulster Bank was included in my report and dossier of evidence, even though they said it wasn't," he said. "I think Ulster Bank deployed exactly the same tactics that I outlined in my dossier of evidence and report." Mr Tomlinson said Ulster Bank was included in his report, commissioned by Business Secretary Vince Cable.

The Tomlinson report said there was evidence that RBS deliberately put some "good and viable" businesses into default so it could make more profit. His allegations centre on the bank's Global Restructuring Group (GRG) lending division, which specialises in handling loans seen as being more risky. His report says that putting a business into the GRG generated revenue for the bank through fees, increased profit margins and the purchase of devalued assets by their property division, West Register. "Having met 120 people last night and probably another 40 businesses today, it just reinforces exactly what I've got in my report and gives me more confidence that the Financial Conduct Authority will find major issues within GRG."

On Wednesday, Sir Andrew (Large) told the Treasury Select Committee he had seen nothing to back up Mr Tomlinson's allegations. "There's an element of plausibility in the assertions that are in the Tomlinson report... but that doesn't mean to say I think those activities are actually happening. I didn't have any evidence of them," he said. - 23rd January 2014 BBC News Northern Ireland

Eddy Weatherill says: "IBAS has provided evidence of these bank tactics to regulators over many years from our case work and would endorse Mr Tomlinson's report as being factual but there is no surprise that Sir Andrew Large (who was commissioned by the bank to overview their lending policies) saw nothing, heard nothing and can therefore speak nothing to the Treasury Select Committee on RBS GRG matters. I would be much more surprised if he had! The bank is in denial at present and Sir Andrew Large was not employed by the bank to look into that specific area. However, the evidence is there for the FCA to do something about GRG and RBS deliberately distressing and destroying UK businesses purely for the bank's own profit - if the FCA have the mind to do so. That is our question - do they? and more importantly will they?

Also, it is not just RBS which has pillaged business in the UK over the last few years, in order to sell their assets and make a profit for the bank out of business distress and 'cleaning up' by claiming on the director's personal guarantees. RBS GRG will be a good start to such matters if the FCA does not renege on their duty. UK Businesses should not be forced into failure by banks when there is no need, particularly when the banks concerned are part owned by the UK Taxpayer" & " Many believe a solicitor is required when a bank threatens them or their business because they think a solicitor will know what to do and how best to defend the bank debt claim or they will be more able to help when the bank threatens their business. But, solicitors need correct and firm 'instruction' and cases that can win also need 'in depth' investigation to ascertain the strengths and weakness for correct strategy to be used.

Surprisingly, many lawyers are not aware of all the information required or necessary to resist a bank's claim or knowledge of how bank's will act and they then rely heavily on barrister's advice (more cost). Many solicitors also believe they will be able to 'encourage the bank to settle' and 'lead' clients to believe settlement is a real possibility whilst having no facts to support a valid argument to force such a situation. IBAS still have enquiries where those involved in 'assisting' (the customer's solicitor/accountant/ex banker) portray their own lack of business banking knowledge by providing the bank with all information they demand and placing the bank more firmly in the 'driving seat'. - If you have a business banking case GRG/RBS or any other bank and think you require Legal assistance please email IBAS we can help you.

Royal Bank of Scotland investigators appointed by City watchdog. Financial Conduct Authority names two outside firms to report on allegations RBS drove small businesses into administration. RBS's head of regulation, Jon Pain, said: "We welcome confirmation of the FCA's review and will support the process in every way we can. The full investigation of these issues is vital in order to protect the trust our customers place in us." RBS has already commissioned a City law firm, Clifford Chance, to review Tomlinson's allegations. Pain said any customer who is unhappy about the global restructuring group should contact Clifford Chance. - 17th January 2014 The Guardian

Eddy Weatherill says: "Have I got enough room for the comments I would like to make? No, just not enough room to say what needs to be said. But, Lawrence Tomlinson made a good start by publishing his report on RBS and GRG and what this bank has done and also their motivation for doing it. However, whilst RBS are a very good target and have manipulated businesses into defaults, they are not alone in destroying business in the UK. All banks have done it and for the same reasons - self interest, profit and greed. Nothing wrong with a good profit for a good service. But, UK businesses require much better service and much more intelligence from those who fund them. Also, Mr Pain is being somewhat devious by suggesting all those 'unhappy about the global restructuring group should contact Clifford Chance' because the bank instructed Clifford Chance, ahead of the FCA investigations in an attempt to gain as much information as possible from the customers, in order to defuse claims made in the Tomlinson Report. The tactics are similar to the way in which Cruickshank's Report in 2000 was 'derailed' and lack of Government action to correct bank excesses then is now part of the reason why the UK is now in the mess that we are.

'Shocking' Nature Of Banks' Transgressions. Fines totalling £90m for Britain's two state-backed lenders, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), were modest in the context of some of the penalties handed out to banks since the crisis of 2008. The nature of the transgressions, though, was arguably as shocking as anything seen in global banking during the last five years. 12th December 2013 Sky Business News

Eddy Weatherill comments: The 'champagne bonus' and 'grand in the hand' initiatives for Bankers 'encouraged' to deliberately mislead customers to buy products which allowed the bank staff to feed off' their customer's naivety over several years continues to evidence the endemic dishonest banking culture in the UK. Even worse, that such a culture has continued despite the banking chiefs expressing 'appropriate levels of contrition' after being once again caught with 'their hands in the till'. Is it just our imagination, or are the banks ignoring the regulators when they feel like it and still encouraging staff to 'cream off' bank customers whilst publicly showing contrition?

Business Secretary Vince Cable has referred a report about how RBS dealt with small business to City regulators. RBS put some "good and viable" businesses into default so it could make more profit, it is claimed in a report by government adviser Lawrence Tomlinson released on Monday. Mr Tomlinson acted independently of government in producing the report, and did not set out to look solely at RBS. He also said conversations with affected businesses had made a big impact on him. "I feel really sick sometimes. It is really disturbing," he said."It is ruining people's businesses for sure, and in some cases having a huge impact on their personal lives too, even leading to family breakdown. See the report courtesy of Honestly Banking - 24th November BBC Business

Eddy Weatherill comments: Well done Mr Tomlinson for exposing how banks have been destroying small businesses for years. But, now what will happen and who will make it happen? This report has endorsed all that IBAS has been saying for years.

Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) National, independent, unique, experienced, specialist, non-profit, banking customer membership organization which investigates and resolves business banking disputes & has since 1992 campaigned on UK Banking issues - providing business banking editorial for BBC TV News, ITV News, Sky News, Radio and all national newspapers.