Belfast Telegraph

RBS small firm scandal ran all way to the top, says report

By Kalyeena Makortoff

A group put together for the sole purpose of suing Ulster Bank owner RBS has accused the lender of having "obscured" a bigger picture of wrongdoing linked to its controversial Global Restructuring Group (GRG).

RGL Management issued a report claiming that GRG's mistreatment of business customers was an "policy driven from the top" and only represented a "cog within the machinery of RBS".

The group also claimed that reporting and investigations into the unit have focused too heavily "on symptoms rather than the cause".

"It is clear to us that this has been very convenient for RBS and its apologists, who have happily embraced a narrowing of scope to enable the reality and scale of what RBS did to its own SME clients to remain the subject of doubt, confusion and counter claims," RGL said.

The State-backed lender has been dogged by allegations that it intentionally pushed small businesses towards failure in the hope of picking up their assets on the cheap.

The Financial Conduct Authority is investigating whether to take further action over the unit's actions after publishing an interim report into GRG following intense political pressure.

One memo - entitled Just Hit Budget! - which was written in 2009 talks of applying particularly high interest rates that could then be reduced if customers signed over a stake in their business or property.

It also detailed how staff sometimes "need to let customers hang themselves".

RBS boss Ross McEwan insisted the memo was "written by a junior manager who is no longer employed by the bank".

Belfast Telegraph

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