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On this page, you can find answers to our frequently asked questions and general background on the BBRS.

The BBRS is committed to transparency, if you cannot find the answer to your question on this page then please send us an email at hello@thebbrs.org or call us on 0345 646 8825.

For any press or media enquiries, please contact 020 7554 1776 or email BBRS@portland-communications.com.

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The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) is an independent, not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and incorporated in England and Wales with registered number 12096333.

The BBRS has been established to provide an industry-funded independent service to resolve eligible historical and future disputes between SMEs and participating banks, with a view to delivering fair, reasonable and independent outcomes and without the need for litigation or external legal support. You can find out more here.

The BBRS is governed by an independent Board, with relevant industry experience and knowledge of the broader stakeholder community. You can find out more about this here.

Yes, the BBRS is independent. You can find out more about how the BBRS is run here.

Our funding mechanism and corporate structure are designed to ensure our independence. For example, there is no link between a bank’s funding and any individual case.

The independence of our Chief Adjudicator is safeguarded directly by the Scheme Rules and the BBRS’ Articles of Association. And the organisation’s independence is safeguarded by our independent Board.

Most importantly, we approach the review of evidence and decision-making with objectivity and impartiality. We are committed to reaching decisions which are fair & reasonable in all the circumstances.

To use the BBRS’ services you must fit the eligibility criteria for our historical or contemporary scheme. More detailed information can be found here, but broadly we are able to assist with claims:

  • From UK registered businesses, partnerships, trusts, charities, friendly societies and co-operative societies
  • Relating to an unresolved complaint against one of the banks participating in the BBRS (please see list included below)
  • That have not been the subject of a third-party review
  • For historical cases (from 1 December 2001 to 31 March 2019) businesses must have a maximum turnover up to £6.5m per annum; and total assets up to £5m
  • For contemporary cases (from 1 April 2019 onwards) businesses must have a turnover/income up to £10m per annum; and total assets up to £7.5m.
  • The complaint must also not be eligible for the Financial Ombudsman Service

It is the responsibility of the BBRS to determine the eligibility of your complaint for our service. If you want more information, please contact our team whose contact information can be found here.

If your complaint is eligible for the Financial Ombudsman Service, you must take it there, because we will not be able to deal with it. If you are unsure about your eligibility for that service, you can find details here.

Important: The Financial Ombudsman Service has a deadline for submission of complaint(s) of six months after the date of the bank’s final response letter to you. If you miss this deadline, and you need to take your complaint there, you will most likely lose the opportunity to have your complaint independently reviewed.

If we are asked to consider a complaint that falls outside our eligibility criteria and we believe we should be able to consider it, we will write to the bank, explain why we should consider it and seek their agreement to do so. The banks have agreed to act reasonably and in good faith when considering our requests, including clear explanations if they disagree with us, you can find out more information on this here.

There are currently seven banks for which we are able to accept complaints: Barclays Bank PLC and Barclays Bank UK PLC; Danske Bank; HSBC UK Bank plc; Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds Bank plc and Bank of Scotland plc); NatWest Group (including The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, National Westminster Bank plc, Coutts & Company and Ulster Bank Limited (Northern Ireland)); Santander UK plc; and Virgin Money (including Clydesdale Bank PLC and Yorkshire Bank).

Alternative trading names and subsidiary banks within the corporate group of the participating banks are also eligible for the BBRS. Please contact us if you are uncertain.

It is possible and hoped that additional banks might join as we develop our service. Any changes to the list of participating banks will be set out on this website.

If you meet all our eligibility criteria, we will be able to consider a complaint relating to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). In doing so, we will take account of the regulatory context surrounding the provision of a loan under the CBILS, which were modified by the regulators to enable the timely provision of such loans.

No. We are unable to consider complaints relating to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

The BBRS may, in some circumstances, also be able to look at complaints that are ineligible. These cases are known as ‘concessionary cases’, and have previously been known as ‘boundary cases’. You can find out more about this here.

Anyone concerned about the eligibility of their case for the BBRS’ service is encouraged to contact us, or register for the BBRS. The BBRS will consider whether a complaint or any part of it is eligible for the service.

Excluded schemes are also known as independent reviews. You can find a list of the excluded schemes here. If you have been through one of these schemes, we would suggest visiting our page on concessionary cases (also known as ‘boundary’ cases) to see if you could be assisted with your case by the BBRS.

While our ability to use investigative adjudication is important, many cases will be more suitable for one of the range of other techniques for alternative dispute resolution (also known by the acronym ADR) at our disposal such as mediation.

You can find out more about these techniques here.

Where customers and their banks don’t agree, the BBRS has the power to investigate complaints and decide what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. If the BBRS finds a complaint should be upheld, it can require the relevant bank to make financial and non-financial awards which are fair and reasonable, taking into account all relevant information available. You can read more about this here.

The BBRS does not have the power to overturn decisions by the Financial Ombudsman Service or by a court.

You can contact us by email at hello@thebbrs.org for all general enquiries. Additional contact information can be found here.

We will keep customers up to date with our progress and give as much information as possible regarding the timeline of their case.

Overall we are dealing with cases in the order in which they have been registered with us. However, we will take steps to bring forward cases where timing creates vulnerability, for example, a person suffering serious illness or other life-changing event: our Customer Champions will discuss this confidentially with users of the service who believe this applies to them.

We will regularly review all of the cases registered with us. For example to see if cases can be reviewed quickly, for example, because the problem is clear and easily resolved, or because the case is plainly ineligible and needs to be directed towards other services.

The BBRS is free: there are no costs for the services provided by the BBRS.

The BBRS has been established to provide a service that does not involve litigation or require external legal support. You are able to choose to seek advice from a lawyer if you wish and at your own cost.

Yes, you can appeal an eligibility decision made by the BBRS. A case’s eligibility for the BBRS remains under review through the process. If at any stage the BBRS decides that your case Is not eligible, you can appeal our decision.

There may be situations in which either a customer or the bank they are complaining about feel there is more to be considered about the case and wish to appeal the whole or part of a Determination.

The party wishing to appeal will need to submit an Appeal Notice to the Chief Adjudicator, specifying the grounds of appeal.

You can read more about this here.

Yes, the BBRS’ decision is final once it has been accepted by the customer or, if not accepted, once it has been appealed and, then, accepted. You can find out information regarding our appeal process here. You are, however, able to decline the BBRS’ determination and pursue other action against the bank if you wish.

Accepting the outcome means you can no longer pursue the specific complaint against your bank with the BBRS or anywhere else, including legal proceedings or any sort of alternative dispute resolution, except to enforce the Determination in court should that be necessary.

Your complaint must not be the subject of current litigation, or have been settled. Your complaint must not have been decided already by the courts

If you have been subject to litigation in relation to the complaint, such as repossession, you can still bring your complaint to the BBRS.

A complaint must relate to a banking service, such as lending or payment services.

Yes. The BBRS is set up to respond flexibly to meet the needs of customers. For more information, please contact us for more information.

Yes, however, please note they will also need to undergo our identification checks. You can find out more about this process here. We are committed to ensuring our service is accessible to all eligible customers and will make reasonable adjustments to accommodate their needs. If you need a reasonable adjustment to allow you to use our service, such as allowing a support worker to help you with the process, then please talk to your Customer Champion about this.

The BBRS is funded by the participating banks. The BBRS is independently operated, managed and governed. You can find out more here.

You or the authorised representative can bring a complaint to the BBRS provided the eligibility criteria are met. Insolvency does not impact eligibility for BBRS but the complaint must be brought by the insolvency practitioner (IP) or an individual who has been authorised or granted an assignment by the IP in writing. The individual must also have (or had) a role in the business such as director, shareholder, partner, trustee, member or sole trader. Then, providing your case meets our other eligibility criteria, your case will progress in the same way as any other business.

A complaint can still be brought to the BBRS. It is not necessary for a dissolved business to have been restored in order to bring a complaint to the BBRS. Provision has been made for some dissolved businesses to be able to bring a complaint to the BBRS, but eligibility criteria apply and the agreements of people formerly involved with the business will be needed.

For complaints that are eligible, our investigation and decision-making processes will be the same as that for any other business entering our service.

Often, dissolved businesses cannot now speak for themselves, so our rules set out who can now bring complaints on their behalf and, the agreements needed for that to happen. You can find out more about this here. If you are thinking of bringing a complaint relating to a dissolved business we encourage you to contact us before registering so we can talk our requirements through with you.

If you have given a personal guarantee, to a bank participating in the BBRS for a loan to an eligible business you can bring a complaint in circumstances where you are the guarantor and have personally suffered financial or other loss or harm (other harm can include material distress or inconvenience).

We welcome general enquiries about the BBRS and our service. If someone gets in touch for this reason, and does not discuss a particular complaint or disclose personal details, we will not need to conduct an identity check.

In all other cases, we will need to check the identity of anybody who gets in touch about a complaint. You can find out more about this here.

Your data will only be used in line with your preferences and our Privacy Policy and Cookies Policy.

You can register for the BBRS here. If you require assistance or would prefer to use the phone or post to communicate please contact hello@thebbrs.org or call 0345 646 8825.

If you have a complaint about the service you have received from the BBRS you can find out about our Service Complaints procedure here.

If you took part in our Live Pilot, please contact your Customer Champion with any questions.

If your case was not selected for the Live Pilot, this does not mean it is not eligible for our service. All complaints registered with the BBRS which were not selected for the Live Pilot will be considered, including eligibility for the scheme.

You can find the final report on our Live Pilot here.

When we are ready to start reviewing your complaint, you will be assigned a Customer Champion. Your Customer Champion will guide you through the process of providing your complaint to the BBRS and sending us any evidence you may have assembled.

Until your Customer Champion has specifically asked you to do so, please do not send any files, email attachments or correspondence in relation to your case (or any cases you are authorised to represent), either directly or via a representative.

No. Taking a complaint to the BBRS does not mean you will give up your right to bring legal proceedings against your bank unless you decide to accept our determination or otherwise settle your claim against your bank. You may decide to not accept the BBRS determination or withdraw your complaint from the BBRS at any time. In either of these instances, you can pursue your complaint elsewhere if you wish to.

Normal Court time limits may still apply even if you bring your complaint to the BBRS and continue to run while the BBRS deals with your complaint. You may discuss the implications for your case with your Customer Champion.

The BBRS may consider complaints ineligible if a customer has previously taken or concluded legal proceedings against their bank which have already covered the complaint being made.

If you decide to accept a BBRS determination for your complaint, this will be a full and final settlement. You will therefore be agreeing not to pursue any further proceedings about the complaint. You will be able to use the BBRS determination to enforce the settlement in court in the event that your bank has not complied with the determination.

If your complaint is eligible for the Financial Ombudsman Service, you must take it there, because we will not be able to deal with it. If you are unsure about your eligibility for that service, you can find details here.

Important: The Financial Ombudsman Service has a deadline for bringing complaint(s) of six months after the date of the bank’s final response letter to you. If you miss this deadline, you will most likely lose the opportunity to have your complaint independently reviewed.

No. If your complaint is eligible for the Financial Ombudsman Service, you must take it there because we will not be able to deal with it. If you are unsure about your eligibility for that service, you can find details here.

Important: The Financial Ombudsman Service has a deadline for bringing complaint(s) of six months after the date of the bank’s final response letter to you. If you miss this deadline, you will most likely lose the opportunity to have your complaint independently reviewed.

No. If your complaint is eligible for the Financial Ombudsman Service, you must take it there because we will not be able to deal with it. If you are unsure about your eligibility for that service, you can find details here.

Important: The Financial Ombudsman Service has a deadline for bringing complaint(s) of six months after the date of the bank’s final response letter to you. If you miss this deadline, you will most likely lose the opportunity to have your complaint independently reviewed.

No. A moratorium will be granted or refused solely at the discretion of the relevant bank. If you believe that a moratorium may be appropriate to your current circumstances, we recommend contacting your bank.

We understand that in some situations customers may seek a moratorium from legal proceedings direct from their bank as a result of bringing their complaints to the BBRS. Participating banks have agreed to consider requests for a moratorium on a case by case basis where complaints have been registered with the BBRS.

In these situations, it is entirely the bank’s decision whether or not to grant a moratorium and for the bank to consider the relevance (or not) of registration of a complaint with the BBRS. If the bank requires proof of registration, the automated confirmation email you received when registering an interest should be considered as sufficient proof to the bank, a court, or other party that there has indeed been a registration of interest with the BBRS.

Ultimately, it is for the court to decide whether or not to grant any adjournment of legal proceedings. As an impartial, independent banking complaints resolution service, the BBRS is not an advocate for complainants or for their banks and therefore will not intervene in legal proceedings, make requests for adjournments or any other matter on behalf of complainants.

In the unlikely event that the court requires further confirmation from the BBRS that a complaint has been registered with us, on request we would confirm this directly to the court.

Our service has been designed to ensure that customers do not need any representatives (legal or other). You will be supported by your Customer Champion, who will be your BBRS point of contact. You can find out more about the Customer Champion’s role here.

You will be assigned a Customer Champion when we start work on your case.

Claims management companies are commercial businesses or individuals that handle certain types of claim, including complaints about financial services and products.

All claims management companies in England, Scotland and Wales must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate legally – find out more here.

Our service has been designed to ensure that customers do not need any representatives (legal, claims management or other).

Before you consider using a claims management company, or any other professional third party, please bear in mind that every case will be assigned a Customer Champion. You can find out more about their role here.

In most cases, we do not expect to gather oral evidence or undertake interviews as the Case Assessor will instead weigh up the evidence based on available documents. However in some cases we may agree to organise a meeting of the parties under our rules. Our Customer Champions will give guidance, but not advice, on how to assemble the documents needed for the case.

To keep up to date with the BBRS you can check our website for the latest news, reports and blogs.

You can also follow us on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

Please email hello@thebbrs.org  if you wish your contact preferences to be changed, or please call 0345 646 8825 and one of our team will be able to help you (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm). If we have already started work on your case and assigned you a Customer Champion, please inform them of your contact preferences.

If you have any general enquiries that have not been answered please contact hello@thebbrs.org If we have already started work on your case and assigned you a Customer Champion, please raise any questions with them.

If your case is under review by the BBRS you will have been contacted by your Customer Champion.

If you have been provided with a password to our online portal but have forgotten it, you will be able to reset your password by following a ‘forgotten password’ link. You will also be able to call the BBRS to ask for help with this on 0345 646 8825.

The BBRS is not a public body and is therefore not subject to Freedom of Information requests.  However, we will from time to time publish information about our case work in line with our rules.

If you wish to enquire about any personal data that the BBRS may hold about you, you can make a Data Subject Access request to the BBRS. The BBRS will respond to all Data Subject Access Requests in accordance with its Privacy Policy, which can be found here.

We are referring to the business’ total (or gross) assets, not its net assets.

Where a case relates to a subsidiary of our participating banks, customers should register their case and we will consider it.

We want to provide resolution to complaints as soon as possible, but we must balance this with the need to be as rigorous as possible in our decision-making. We want to get this right.

The date each customer receives their determination will also depend on the facts of each individual case, for example how long it might take to assemble all evidence, the complexity of the case and whether both customer and bank agree with our Provisional Determination.

The purpose of the BBRS is to provide an alternative to litigation. If the subject matter of the complaint has been subject to a judgment or order of a court, it is unlikely to be eligible for the BBRS. The BBRS cannot overturn a decision made by a court. However, we would expect to be able to consider a complaint by the Guarantor relating to elements of a complaint that were not considered by the court.

If you have given a personal guarantee to a bank participating in the BBRS for a loan to an eligible business you can bring a complaint if you have personally suffered financial or other loss or harm (other harm can include material distress or inconvenience) as a result of giving that guarantee.

If you are uncertain whether or not you are eligible we would recommend contacting us or registering your complaint for our service.

Yes. Provided that our eligibility criteria are met, we can consider multiple complaints from multiple businesses. Each of the businesses can bring a complaint to the BBRS.

Even though the same person might register the complaint, we will generally consider each business as an individual case will be administered and investigated separately unless their complaints relate to the same incident and bank. In that case, if the businesses are part of the same Group, or are ‘connected’, we will generally deal with them together.

The Customer Champion will discuss mediation options with the customer. Both the customer and the bank must agree in order for mediation to take place.

Agreeing to either informal or formal mediation does not affect consideration of the complaint should settlement not be achieved: in that case, the complaint will instead continue through to adjudication.

You can find out more about the process here.

Yes. Customers will be given access to our specially designed online system to upload documents and evidence. At the appropriate time the customer will be given the chance to see any evidence the bank has provided, and simultaneously the bank will be able to see any evidence the customer has uploaded.

Under our rules, the customer and the bank can ask that certain confidential information is not shared with the other party. If such a request is made, we will carefully consider whether it is appropriate to keep the information confidential or whether we believe that it should be shared.

If we believe that there are good reasons why a document should not be shared, or only shared in redacted form, we will explain how we have used it in our decision-making as part of the Provisional Determination.

If we believe that the evidence should be shared, the party requesting that it should be withheld will be informed of our decision and can choose to share it with the other party, or withdraw that evidence altogether.

The BBRS is not a criminal investigation organisation.

However, if there are allegations of criminal conduct such as forgery or fraud the BBRS is able to continue to review the complaint. Victims of such crimes rarely receive full compensation. The BBRS will look at a case and establish whether an act or omission on behalf of the bank caused a loss for the customer, and what fair compensation might be.

If we consider that the case involves strong indications of serious criminal conduct we would consider notifying the appropriate authorities after raising the issue with the Bank.

In relation to our Live Pilot you can find the summary of our findings here.

We will not publish personally identifiable information relating to cases but over time we will provide summaries of case decisions, thematic insights based on the cases we see, and produce anonymised case studies.

SMEs with an annual turnover of less than €2m have been eligible for the Financial Ombudsman Service since 1 November 2009 up till 1 April 2019 (when the annual turnover threshold increased to £6.5M). The classification of businesses with up to €2m turnover as ‘micro-enterprises’ reflects the EU definition which has been adopted by the UK government.

The BBRS applies a lower threshold of €2m to ensure that there is no gap between our historical scheme and cases eligible for the Financial Ombudsman Scheme. Thus eligible SMEs could either have taken their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service if their turnover was below €2m or can now bring it to the BBRS if their turnover was above €2m and less than £6.5m. The turnover limits apply to the time when you complained to your bank so the exchange rate from the same time should be used.

If you are concerned about the eligibility of your case for the BBRS, please contact us or register for the BBRS.

Customers will not be asked to sign an NDA. We do ask that all parties involved in resolving a case to keep information confidential because we believe that it helps encourage openness by the parties and thus more likely lead to fair and reasonable outcomes.

So that the customer, the BBRS and the bank can communicate effectively, they all need to have assurances that what is said or shared during the dispute resolution process will not be used against them later.

Nothing in our rules prevents customers from sharing information with a professional adviser or other representative in order to obtain advice, provided that person agrees to be bound by the same confidentiality. Customers can also disclose information to enforce a determination in their favour before a court of law if this is necessary.

If a customer fails to comply with the scheme rules or the customer agreement, the BBRS reserves the right not to consider a complaint further.

The BBRS has been designed to be simple and easy to use. Our staff will support customers throughout the process so nobody should feel the need to rely on a professional adviser. Customers who wish to do so can obtain advice from someone else at their own expense and, depending on their circumstances, may be able to authorise a natural person (a human being and not a company or legal entity) to deal with their case. Our Scheme Rules set out who can bring a complaint on a customer’s behalf. If you are unsure about these requirements, please speak to your Customer Champion, call us on 0345 646 8825 or email us at hello@thebbrs.org.