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UK SMEs have 3 months left to register unresolved historical banking complaints with the BBRS

17 November 2022

  • Businesses with historical banking disputes could be awarded compensation up to £350,000 if they apply before 14 Feb 2023
  • Businesses should check now if the BBRS can help, using our online tool
  • Businesses could benefit from free and impartial alternative dispute resolution
  • Customers with recent complaints can still register through the contemporary scheme

The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) is appealing directly to UK SMEs to see if their unresolved banking disputes can be tackled. Eligible SMEs with long-standing banking complaints must register their case with the BBRS before the historical scheme closes on 14 February 2023.  Professional services firms should also check to see if their current and previous clients’ banking disputes can be tackled.

The BBRS is a not-for-profit, independent service, established to resolve disputes between SMEs and their bank. The service resolves disputes based on what is fair and reasonable for each case. Businesses going through the service will be assigned a dispute resolution specialist known as the customer champion who acts as a single point of contact and offers practical support. The BBRS can make both financial and non-financial awards when a complaint is upheld.

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. This includes businesses which have since closed, merged or been sold.

The BBRS can also assess more recent unresolved 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, which are not eligible to take their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Businesses with outstanding historical banking disputes are urged to see if they can apply for support using a quick online tool as the deadline for historical complaint applications is just 3 months away, closing on 14 February 2023. Professional services businesses are also encouraged to see if they can help clients access BBRS’ support.

Adam Szpala, Head of Public Affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce said: “Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the UK economy and are integral to their local communities. Access to fair and affordable finance has been key to seeing many of them through the tough economic conditions of the past two years. The BBRS is crucial in helping eligible organisations get free and impartial support to help resolve their banking disputes. It’s a vital service, as businesses face the unprecedented challenges of the cost-of-living crisis, leaving them to focus on what they do best – creating jobs which support our economy and society. We would encourage all small and medium sized firms with unresolved business banking disputes to get in touch and see if the BBRS can help.”

Glenn Collins, Head of Policy, Technical and Strategic Engagement at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants said: “As a supporter of the BBRS and its work, we wholeheartedly back their call for SMEs to ensure they have a voice when it comes to unresolved banking disputes. Accountancy and professional services firms may also be aware of contemporary banking issues affecting their clients, so we are urging our members and beyond to recommend visiting the BBRS website where SMEs can register for this free service.”

Laura Mahoney, Head of Policy and Legal at the Lending Standards Board said: “Services like the BBRS help drive fair outcomes for businesses across the UK at a time when they are dealing with the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. We are calling on organisations across the UK to get in touch and find out if they are eligible for free and independent support to resolve their long-standing, unresolved disputes.”

Dirk Paterson, Customer Director at the BBRS said: “We want as many businesses as possible to have the opportunity to use the BBRS’ service. This includes businesses, trusts, charities, friendly societies, and co-operative societies. It includes directors of businesses no longer operating. We urge them to see if they qualify for our help and, if so, to register. If they’re unsure, businesses can check online or contact us to find out more.”  

Businesses can check and register online at:

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Notes to Editors

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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.

BBRSsummaryeligibility criteria

The BBRS is open to businesses with unresolved complaints against their bank who are or were, a:

  • Small to medium sized enterprise (SME) or sole trader
  • Charity, trust or similar
  • Director, significant shareholder, partner or board member of such an organisation, even if it is no longer operating
  • Personal guarantor of any such business

Businesses meeting these criteria may qualify to use the BBRS if they also have:

  • An unresolved business banking complaint against one of the participating banks or their subsidiaries
  • Made a formal complaint to their bank from December 2001 onwards, and not had (or been able to have) review by a bank scheme, agreed a settlement, or gone to court
  • At the time of the complaint, had a turnover of:
    • 2001-2009: between £1 million and £6.5 million
    • 2009-2019: between 2 million Euros and £6.5 million
    • 2019 onwards: between £6.5 million and £10 million

More details and full eligibility criteria can be found on our website: