Thursday, 28 November 2013

Sticking mud will mean many businesses will steer clear of RBS

The old saying "mud sticks" will almost certainly prove pertinent for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Earlier this week a report from a government adviser said the bank had taken advantage of struggling businesses, seizing their assets at cheap prices.

RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton made a clumsy effort to defend his bank, saying: "We will almost certainly have been too heavy with some customers from time to time. And we will almost certainly have been too lax with customers from time to time, given that we have dealt with many, many thousands of businesses in distress in recent years.

"I am certain that we will have got it wrong in both directions because there are so many people that we have had to deal with in deep distress."

The Tomlinson Report said that when a business was put into the RBS's Global Restructuring Group (GRG) lending division, it generated revenue for the bank by fees, increased profit margins and, perhaps most significantly, the purchase of assets as knock-down prices by their property division.

It all smells a bit unsavoury.

Investigations continue, but mud sticks. Many businesses will stay away from the RBS now.

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