Royal Bank of Scotland accused of profiting from failing firms

ROYAL Bank of Scotland (RBS) allegedly tried to turn a profit from failing businesses and embarked on a “dash for cash” to boost fee income, reports have said.

Firms earmarked for help from RBS were hit with hefty fees and fines and saw their assets bought up on the cheap, according to an investigation by carried out by the BBC and BuzzFeed.

Confidential files leaked to the media organisations suggest bank staff could also pocket bigger bonuses by pinpointing firms for a restructure in what an RBS executive described as a “dash for cash”.

RBS, which is 73% owned by the taxpayer, said it had let some business customers down, but found no evidence that it had deliberately tried to push firms into insolvency or buy their assets below market price.

Around 12,000 were placed into the RBS’ turnaround arm – Global Restructuring Group (GRG) – following the banking crisis of 2008.

The unit is alleged to have brought in extra fee income by squeezing small businesses.

Jon Pain, RBS’ chief conduct and regulatory affairs officer, said: “RBS has been very clear that GRG’s role was to protect the bank’s position, where possible by working with distressed businesses to return them to financial health.

“In the aftermath of the financial crisis we did not always meet our own high standards and we let some of our SME customers down.”

“In regard to the wider allegations raised, we have found no evidence that the bank either inappropriately targeted such businesses to transfer them to GRG or drove them to insolvency,” he added.

“Nor did it buy their assets at a lower than market price.”

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