Taskforce banks appoint external reviewers to monitor appeals process
A team of external reviewers has been appointed to monitor the UK’s biggest banks’ commitment to a fair, prompt and transparent appeals process for businesses declined lending.
Appointed by the Business Finance Taskforce, as part of the Better Business Finance campaign, Professor Russel Griggs OBE will lead the review team, supported by the consultancy firm Promontory. These selections are backed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and HM Treasury.
Angela Knight, Chief Executive, British Banker’s Association said:
“In October 2010 the Business Finance Taskforce agreed to 17 initiatives with the aim of supporting SMEs in the UK. One of the initiatives was to launch a monitored appeals process. We are delighted that Professor Russel Griggs OBE and Promontory have now been appointed as the independent and external review team. Both are highly regarded in their fields and have exceptional experience and understanding of the banking sector and industry.
“Professor Griggs’ career in senior and highly successful roles in academia and business speaks for itself and Promontory’s team provides decades of experience of reviewing and monitoring banking processes at central banks, regulators and in-house within banks.
“The Taskforce banks’ have committed to a common set of principles in how they operate their individual appeals processes. The agreed principles will help ensure businesses are given the support needed to grow.
“The first year will be a learning process for everyone involved on how to make the Review process useful and effective.”
As part of the banks’ commitment to a transparent process, business customers will be able to see how they should be treated when banking with any of the Taskforce banks in newly published Lending Guidelines, available on the individual banks’ websites and http://www.betterbusinessfinance.co.uk .
Professor Griggs will produce an annual report on the overall effectiveness of the banks’ appeals process that will be shared with the banks, government and various stakeholders. Promontory will support Professor Griggs, conducting on-site and off-site monitoring of the banks’ appeal process throughout the year, as determined by Professor Griggs and will work with him in preparing the annual report.
The appeals process launched today (Tuesday 5 April) at the first Better Business Finance roadshow in Edinburgh.
Notes to editors
1) About Business Finance Taskforce: In October 2010 the Business Finance Taskforce, made up of the British Bankers’ Association, Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds, Santander and Standard Chartered published ‘Supporting UK businesses’ in response to the government’s green paper ‘Financing a private sector recovery’. The report set out 17 initiatives to improve the banks’ relationships with their business customers, to ensure better access to finance and to promote greater understanding of the needs of businesses. http://www.bba.org.uk/media/article/business-finance-taskforce
2) About Better Business Finance: The Better Business Finance campaign provides impartial information and support to business customers looking to raise finance. It is supported by the British Bankers’ Association and the banks involved are Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds and Santander. It has been created to bring to life the recommendations of the Business Finance Taskforce. Further information can be found at http://www.betterbusinessfinance.co.uk
3) About Professor Russel Griggs: Born and educated in Edinburgh Professor Griggs has a degree from Heriot Watt University. He started his business life in marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. In 1990 he was headhunted to join Scottish Enterprise in a business development role and became an Executive Director of Scottish Enterprise where he ran the investment banking and business development arms. He also ran Scotland the Brand, the Scottish Science Trust, and was in charge of designing and building the Scottish Pavilion at Disney’s Epcot Theme Park in Florida for the Millenium celebrations. Since then he has had a number of non executive positions in the private and public sector as well as running his own consultancy business which does a variety of strategic work for public bodies and private companies.
4) About Promontory: Founded in 2001 Promontory is the premier global financial services consulting firm. Promontory is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has offices in London and around the world. Promontory’s London team is led by Michael Foot, who has four decades’ experience in financial services regulation and supervision. Mr. Foot joined Promontory from the Central Bank of The Bahamas, where he was Inspector of Banks & Trust Companies. From 1998 to 2004, Mr. Foot was a Managing Director of the Financial Services Authority. Prior to his services at the FSA, Mr. Foot served at the Bank of England for 29 years, in a number of posts of increasing responsibility, including head of the European and Foreign Exchange Divisions. Mr. Foot and others on Promontory’s team of London-based experts maintain strong connections at the FSA and its global counterparts. http://www.promontory.com
- When an appeal is raised, the decision will be reviewed by a second person from within the bank who was not involved in the original decision
- The banks’ will consider all the information originally provided and ask for more where they think it is necessary
- The result of the appeal will be communicated to the customer in writing within 30 days
- If lending is still declined after an appeal, the bank will provide information on alternative sources of finance that may be more appropriate or provide support in another form, such as putting the customer in touch with a business mentor