ANDREW GEORGE TO TURN SCREW ON BULLY BANKS

Andrew GeorgeLocal MP Andrew George pledged that he would increase pressure on Banks guilty of misconduct towards small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). He attended the “Bully Banks” campaign day in Westminster this week to show his support for local SMEs damaged by the misconduct of high street banks. He met Leigh Chadwick who was one of several hundred small businesses owners who attended the “Brolly-Day” campaign day (26/2/14) and met with their MPs.

Leigh Chadwick’s family own Seasalt ltd – which was first set up by his father Don Chadwick in 1981 in Penzance – and now employs over 300 people, mainly in Cornwall. The misconduct of its bank in 2008 in selling to it an inappropriate financial product, and the bank’s subsequent refusal to accept responsibility for their misconduct, has constrained Seasalt’s growth and created uncertainty during difficult economic times.

Leigh Chadwick commented “We have been fortunate that our business has grown and thrived over the last few years, but without the incredible hard work from everyone across the company, and the strength and popularity of Seasalt products, the appalling behaviour of our previous bank could have ruined us and led to many job losses. We were fortunate that we were able to switch banks, and our current bankers, Clydesdale, have been very supportive”.

Andrew George MP said:

“Seasalt is far from the only local company mistreated in this way. They were lucky and survived these exploitative practices. Others fought hard but have sadly had to throw in the towel with the consequence of debts, bankruptcy, loss of jobs and business from our local communities.

“The behaviour displayed by these bully banks is horrific. But it is encouraging to see that steady, albeit slow, progress is being made. However, it is extremely worrying and frustrating that hundreds of businesses continue to suffer due to a still inadequate Financial Conduct Authority scheme which still lacks real teeth. I have again written to the Chancellor to demand that banks deliver full and immediate redress to the many businesses damaged by bank misconduct.

“The mistreatment of Seasalt by its previous bank has been disgraceful, but is a classic case of the kind of exploitative practices I have witnessed. Regrettably, many other local businesses have been mis-sold inappropriate products as the practice was widespread across all the high street banks. I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that justice is served and that Seasalt and other local businesses receive full redress.”

The purpose of the lobby day was to raise awareness of the ongoing problems with the interest rate swap mis-selling scandal and to encourage those MPs who have led the campaign in Parliament to keep up the pressure on behalf of their businesses. Andrew George MP is supporting all small businesses in West Cornwall and Scilly who have approached him and who have been damaged by the misconduct of their banks in their campaign to obtain appropriate financial redress. Andrew George is also supporting Bully-Banks in its campaign to change the culture of all the high street banks so that such conduct does not occur in the future.

Bully-Banks is a campaign group of over 1,700 small businesses throughout the UK. It is currently campaigning on behalf of small businesses damaged by the mis-sale of Interest Rate Hedging Products, the mis-sale of fixed rate business loans, the mis-sale of Enterprise Finance Guarantees and the mis-sale of factoring services.

Jeremy Roe, Chair of Bully Banks said:

“The parliamentary support for this campaign has been invaluable in securing redress for thousands of businesses across the UK each of which has been the victim of mis-selling at the hands of our high street banks. Much more remains to be achieved but the turn out on Wednesday was extremely encouraging. We look forward to working closely with our MPs in Parliament to resolve the ongoing issues.”

Mr George has attached an example of another of his local businesses which unfortunately did not survive the impact of the banks’ mistreatment.