Chair’s blog

The Business Banking Resolution Service has passed a major milestone on its journey to launch

I am pleased to be able to share the news that earlier today, the Implementation Steering Group (ISG) unanimously approved the entirety of the BBRS’ legal architecture, including the rules and policies for the service. This is a major milestone for the BBRS and represents one of the final steps in our go live process.

The ISG, which I Chair, is the body tasked with developing the BBRS within the terms of reference set by the banking and finance industry’s response to the Walker Review. Their approval today means that each member can now conduct their respective governance processes on the final documentation, which all members will seek to conclude as quickly as possible.

The ISG will then meet one last  time in January in order to sign off the Scheme, after which the BBRS will be fully independent. At that point, its task completed, the work of the ISG will come to an end.

Our ISG members have worked extremely hard to get us to where we are. There have been pragmatic accommodations and some gracious compromises. But what we have in hand now is a unique scheme, that will provide closure to the mistakes of the past and an assurance things will be done better in the future.

I want to give my thanks to all those who have committed so much time and energy in getting us to this stage. That includes the SME representatives – the APPG on Fair Business Banking, the Federation of Small Businesses, the SME Alliance, the British Chambers of Commerce, the Institute of Directors and the CBI together with Lucy Armstrong and Dame Teresa Graham. Their input has been critical to our success, as has the support of UK Finance.

My thanks also to the participating banks for their commitment to our public interest mission. In this, they have recognised problems in the past that need to be addressed and also the imperative to ensure that there is a way of resolving disputes in the future.

I know it has taken us a long time to get to this point and I want to also thank our registered customers and those who have expressed an interest in using the scheme for their patience. We have given painstaking attention to the details and are determined to get it right. Most importantly for me is that we are faithful to our original vision for the BBRS, resolving disputes impartially and proportionately on the basis of what is fair and reasonable.

The BBRS will go live very early in 2021. We are fully recruited, our IT systems are tested and ready to go and there is much work to do. As soon as possible we will start to handle cases and deliver resolutions in earnest. In doing so, I hope we will make a small contribution to increasing the confidence of businesses to borrow and grow out of the current crisis as well as promoting trust and confidence between the banks and the SME sector.