This press release was originally published on the BBRS website on 10 August 2022
- The BBRS is urging businesses with historical banking disputes to see if they can apply for support using a quick online tool.
- Eligible businesses could benefit from free and impartial alternative dispute resolution.
- The historical scheme will close for new complaints in 6 months, on 14 February 2023.
The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) is appealing to small and mid-sized businesses (SMEs) across the UK to see if their unresolved banking disputes can be tackled. Eligible SMEs with long-standing banking complaints must register their case with the BBRS before the historical scheme closes on 14 February 2023.
The BBRS is a not-for-profit, independent service, established to resolve disputes between SMEs and their bank. The service resolves disputes based on what is fair and reasonable for each case. Businesses going through the service will be assigned a dispute resolution specialist known as the customer champion who acts as a single point of contact and offers practical support. The BBRS can make both financial and non-financial awards when a complaint is upheld.
The BBRS’ historical scheme covers banking complaints first registered in the period from 1 December 2001 to 31 March 2019. Businesses may qualify for support if they had turnover between £1 million and £6.5 million per annum at the time of their complaint, and their case has not already been settled, been subject to an independent review, or gone to court. This includes businesses which have since closed, merged or been sold.
The BBRS can also assess more recent unresolved complaints through its contemporary scheme, which covers cases for the period from 1 April 2019 onwards. It is open to businesses with turnover up to £10 million per annum, and total assets up to £7.5 million, which are not eligible to take their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Since the BBRS went live in February 2021 it has resolved a range of disputes from both the historical and contemporary schemes. Some of these cases have progressed right through the BBRS system and have received an adjudication, which, when upheld in the customer’s favour, recommends what the bank can do to put things right. The BBRS has also seen multiple examples of cases being resolved outside the formal adjudication process, with banks and customers resolving their complaint via a settlement or mediation. In these cases, the BBRS plays a key role in getting the two sides around the table to reach a resolution.
Businesses with outstanding historical banking disputes are urged to see if they can apply for support using a quick online tool as the deadline for historical complaint applications is just 6 months away, closing on 14 February 2023.
Liz Barclay, Small Business Commissioner said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy and many are struggling as the rising cost of doing business (inflation in materials, wages, energy, fuel, and interest rate rises) threatens their survival.
“At no point has it ever been more important for a business owner to proactively challenge financial issues, whether that’s related to late supplier payments or tackling banking disputes. I am pleading with all businesses to grasp this opportunity to have their banking complaints, many of which are long-standing, resolved. If you think your current firm or a previous one, could benefit, whether you’re an owner or a director, contact the BBRS and see if they can help.”
Chris Wilford, Director of Financial Services Policy for the Confederation of British Industry said: “Services like the BBRS play an important role in supporting British industry through the provision of free and impartial support. By helping small and medium sized businesses with their banking disputes, the BBRS can help to forge a healthy and competitive economy.
“In particular, we’d urge members to register long-standing banking complaints with the BBRS within the next six months, as their historic claims scheme will close to new applicants on 14 February 2023. If you think your current organisation, or a previous one, could benefit, please contact the BBRS soon to see if they can help.”
Dirk Paterson, Customer Director at the BBRS said: “We want as many businesses as possible to have the opportunity to use the BBRS’ service. This includes businesses, trusts, charities, friendly societies, and co-operative societies. It includes directors of businesses no longer operating. We urge them to see if they qualify for our help and, if so, to register. If they’re unsure, businesses can check online or contact us to find out more.”
Businesses can check and register online.
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Notes to Editors
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About the BBRS
The BBRS is a non-profit dispute resolution service set up to resolve disputes between eligible small and medium sized businesses and participating banks. It was established as part of a voluntary commitment following the Simon Walker Review on SME business banking complaints.
The seven participating banks are: Barclays, Danske Bank, HSBC UK, Lloyds Banking Group (including Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland), NatWest Group (including Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank (Northern Ireland), Santander UK plc, Virgin Money (including Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank). Alongside the participating banks, the BBRS has been set up in collaboration with representative groups acting on behalf of small and medium sized businesses.
BBRS summary eligibility criteria
The BBRS is open to businesses with unresolved complaints against their bank who are or were, a:
- Small to medium sized enterprise (SME) or sole trader
- Charity, trust or similar
- Director, significant shareholder, partner or board member of such an organisation, even if it is no longer operating
- Personal guarantor of any such business
Businesses meeting these criteria may qualify to use the BBRS if they also have:
- An unresolved business banking complaint against one of the participating banks or their subsidiaries
- Made a formal complaint to their bank from December 2001 onwards, and not had (or been able to have) review by a bank scheme, agreed a settlement, or gone to court
- At the time of the complaint, had a turnover of:
- 2001-2009: between £1 million and £6.5 million
- 2009-2019: between 2 million Euros and £6.5 million
- 2019 onwards: between £6.5 million and £10 million
More details and full eligibility criteria can be found on the BBRS website.