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BBRS releases Second Quarterly Insights Report

28 October 2021

  • The BBRS’ case load now stands at 626 registered cases (as of 31 August 2021)
  • 338 cases are currently going through the BBRS process
  • Eligibility for the Financial Ombudsman Service is the most common reason for a case to go through a formal Eligibility Assessment

The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) has today published its second Quarterly Insights Report, giving an update on its case load since its formation on 15 February 2021 until 31 August 2021.

The BBRS is a non-profit organisation set up to resolve disputes between eligible larger SMEs and participating banks. It has been established to resolve eligible historical and current complaints for small and medium sized businesses that have not previously had access to independent review.

As of 31 August 2021, the BBRS has handled 626 registered cases, with 338 cases currently going through the BBRS process.

Of the 626 cases, 255 have completed their journey. Of these, the vast majority (247 cases) were closed due to administrative factors such as the removal of duplicate cases, customer withdrawals or closure as a result of very prolonged customer inaction.

As of 31 August only 33 cases were undergoing a formal Eligibility Assessment. Of these, 47% had one or more reasons for the assessment taking place. The most common reason was that a case may be, or may have been, eligible for – or received an outcome from – the Financial Ombudsman Service. The BBRS is not able to review cases that have been through the Financial Ombudsman Service.

There have so far been eight determinations, which had a range of outcomes. Additional details cannot be provided at this stage as the BBRS will only report on closed cases in terms of outcomes.

It is estimated that nearly 600,000 UK SMEs could qualify for the BBRS’ independent, free-of-charge specialist dispute resolution services dating back to 2001. This includes businesses which have since closed down, merged or been sold. The BBRS is urging businesses with outstanding banking disputes to see if they can apply for support using a quick online tool, particularly those with older unresolved complaints, as the deadline for historical complaint applications is 14 February 2023.

Dirk Paterson, Customer Director at the BBRS, comments:

“The BBRS has been established to provide SMEs with an independent dispute resolution service to address business banking complaints.

“As we are still a young organisation it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions from our data. Our focus for the time being remains on raising awareness of our services. It’s vital that SMEs know we are here to help with current or historical business banking complaints. Business owners should know that we could award up to £350,000 for Historical Cases and £600,000 for Contemporary Cases, and more in suitable cases so they should check if they are eligible for the scheme.

The BBRS is fully independent and free to use. The process is overseen by Chief Adjudicator, Alexandra Marks CBE, a Deputy High Court Judge, and resolves disputes based on what is fair and reasonable for each case. Businesses going through the service will be assigned a highly skilled dispute resolution specialist, who will act as a single point of contact and offer practical support.

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

The BBRS can also assess more recent ongoing complaints through its Contemporary Scheme, which covers cases for the period from 1 April 2019 onwards: it is for businesses with turnover up to £10m per annum; and total assets up to £7.5m; and which are not eligible to take their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Find out more, contact the BBRS (or arrange a call-back) and use a quick online checking tool to see if they can help: www.thebbrs.org/register  

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Notes to Editors

Media contacts

Lansons

Press Office: +447870397505 I BBRS@lansons.com

Kathryn Mortimer, Communications Manager, BBRS

Contact: Kathryn.Mortimer@thebbrs.org

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.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there are currently 221,000 active SMEs across the UK who may meet the BBRS criteria for the Historical and Contemporary Schemes, through their turnover. ONS data suggests there are more than 586,000 businesses registered between 2003 and 2020 that may also be able to use the Historical Scheme, even if the company is no longer trading.