An internal memo outlines the Royal Bank of Scotland’s predatory practises at the expense of customers.
Callous bank bosses told staff they should let struggling customers “hang themselves” if they got into financial difficulty.
An internal memo revealed the Royal Bank of Scotland’s predatory practises that one former MP claimed ‘undeniably’ drove some small business owners to suicide.
The shocking memo was sent out in 2009 after the financial crash, which saw the bank receive a £45billion tax-payer funded bailout.
Royal Bank of Scotland staff were told to sell clients services that they “normally cannot afford” and “missed opportunities mean missed bonuses”, reports the Daily Record .
Among the tips circulated to staff in RBS’s controversial turnaround unit Global Restructuring Group were that staff should pursue “basket cases” for work, “if they sign they can’t complain” and “Rope: sometimes you need to let customers hang themselves”.
The cynical training document entitled “Just Hit Budget” had previously been reported on but not put in the public domain.
It was published yesterday by the Commons Treasury Select Committee.
Committee Stewart Hosie MP described it as “a step by step guide to fleece RBS customers”.
He said: “It makes shocking reading. It actually includes the following instruction ‘Rope: Sometimes you need to let customers hang themselves…’ It’s unbelievable.”
Hosie’s former SNP colleague George Kerevan said it is “undeniable” that the tactics employed by RBS’s business turnaround unit had driven some small business owners to suicide.
Kerevan used to chair the House of Commons all party parliamentary group on small business banking and was a member of the Treasury Select Committee.
He said he was not shocked by anything in relation to RBS’s Global Restructuring Group.
Kerevan, a former senior lecturer in economics, has previously rounded on RBS saying the “scandal” of GRG has had a huge economic cost to small businesses and a “human cost” of “suicide, depression and failed marriages” saying the effects of GRG’s tactics have been “truly catastrophic”.
He said: “I think it is undeniable that people were driven to suicide, marriages broke up and people had nervous breakdowns.”
He has been a constant critic of the tactics employed by GRG to supposedly help small businesses turn themselves around.
He added: “GRG was run as a profit centre. That is indisputable. The further down the organisation you went ther more individuals were willing to cross boundaries in order to justify their bonuses.
“There’s a whole spectrum of businesses from those that were clearly undervalued by the bank’s chosen consultants and forced into liquidation, when there was absolutely no need for it.
“GRG has been responsible for a massive attack on the small business community in Scotland and the UK.
“It is no surprise that investment is weak and productivity is weak because they have taken a knife to the throat of small businesses in this country.”
RBS distanced itself from the document, saying it was produced by a junior manager no longer employed by the bank and was not reflective of RBS or the GRG’s policy.
The UK financial watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority investigation found that GRG was responsible for “widespread inappropriate treatment” of smaller companies, with 92 per cent mistreated in some way.
It cleared RBS of the more serious allegation that it deliberately forced firms to go bust in order to profit from their misfortune. In a letter to the committee’s chairman Nicky Morgan, RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said the internal memo “at no time form part of GRG or RBS policy.”
The damning revelations came on the day RBS chiefs faced a grilling from MPs over their controversial closure plan that would leave 13 towns in Scotland without a bank.
Les Matheson, RBS chief executive of personal and business banking, turned down several opportunities to back away from the plan as he gave evidence to MPs on the Commons Scottish Affairs committee.
Credit: The Mirror