Scotland’s SMEs bolstered by new service to sort out unresolved banking disputes

19 March 2021

The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) has today received widespread cross-party support from Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and Scottish business leaders.

The independent BBRS went live in mid-February with a brief to resolve outstanding historical and contemporary complaints from larger SMEs about their banks.

SNP Deputy Whip Tom Arthur MSP, Scottish Conservative Party Spokesperson for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Maurice Golden MSP, and Scottish Labour Party Spokesperson for Finance, Daniel Johnson MSP, welcomed the launch of the BBRS as part of a virtual panel event to introduce the service to MSPs and their staff. Tracy Black, Director of CBI Scotland and Stephen Pegge, Managing Director of Commercial Finance at UK Finance also participated in the panel event, and both praised the ambitions and commitments of the service.

The event provided attendees with a comprehensive overview of the BBRS and how it operates, to enable them to recommend it to relevant constituents now that the service is live.

To comply with covid-19 restrictions it was a virtually hosted panel event.

Scottish Conservative Party Spokesperson for Economy, Fair Work and Culture Maurice Golden MSP commented:

“As the country begins economic recovery from the pandemic, the role of small and medium-sized businesses will be crucial. In short, no recovery can take place without them at the very centre.

“Many things will need to happen for that to work, and this scheme from the BBRS will be a vital element. Many firms have run into trouble during this unprecedented time through no fault of their own. These issues need to be swiftly resolved so hardworking business owners and their staff can start focusing on the future.

“I’m delighted to support this scheme which will be a great help to businesses right across Scotland.”

Scottish Labour Party Spokesperson for Finance, Daniel Johnson MSP commented:

“The covid pandemic has shattered communities, livelihoods and businesses across the country. It is going to rake all of our efforts to rebuild and strategically invest long term for the future.

“At the centre of this rebuilding will be the role of small and medium sized businesses. Its paramount we create resilience in the economy and this scheme from the BBRS will be hugely important in that endeavour.”

SNP Deputy Whip Tom Arthur MSP commented:

“I am certain that the BBRS will be welcomed by small and medium-sized businesses across the country.”

“Business owners have been working through incredibly challenging times. As we look towards recovery, SMEs will now have the reassurance that this service will provide an accessible and fair process for resolving disputes with participating finance providers should they arise.”

Director of CBI Scotland, Tracy Black commented:

“The BBRS is welcome news to our members in the Scottish SME Community”

“The BBRS is a solution that will help deal with the legacy of the past but is also capable of facing the challenges of tomorrow, providing swift, fair and reasonable adjudications to deal with complex disputes. As a result, this new service will play a vital role in rebuilding trust between Scottish businesses and the banks that serve them during this critical and challenging period.”

Managing Director of Commercial Finance at UK Finance, Stephen Pegge commented:

“The BBRS is ground-breaking service for larger-sized SMEs, created to deliver a resolution system that is trusted, transparent and fair. It has an unparalleled scope, mandate and level of expertise and its development follows considerable positive engagement from all groups involved. Now 99 per cent of small businesses have access to this new resolution service or to the Financial Ombudsman Service.”

Also speaking at the event, Lewis Shand Smith, Chair of the BBRS, commented:

“We are working hard to support SMEs across the country through this challenging period. By promoting trust and confidence between the banks and their business customers, the BBRS will help to improve the climate for investment across Scotland and the UK

“We are delighted with the support we have received in Scotland, and I would like to thank all of today’s speakers for their contributions.

“We hope events such as this will help to raise awareness of the service and ensure that elected representatives from across the UK know how the scheme can provide support and assistance to businesses who approach them for advice.”

The banks supporting the scheme represent around 90% of the business banking market and it will be open to others to join in the future. The participating banks are currently:

  • 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
  • Virgin Money (including Clydesdale Bank PLC and Yorkshire Bank)

This event follows the successful events held virtually for Westminster and Stormont Parliamentarians, and the BBRS is organising a similar event for Members of the Senedd.

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Notes to Editors 

Media contacts

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About the BBRS

The BBRS is a dispute resolution service set up to resolve disputes between eligible small and medium sized businesses and participating banks. The BBRS has been established in accordance with a voluntary commitment in response to the Simon Walker Review on the small business complaints landscape.

An Implementation Steering Group was established in January 2019, and it drove and oversaw the development of the service in line with the banking and finance industry’s commitment and agreed terms of reference. The seven participating banks are: Barclays, Danske Bank, HSBC UK, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest Group, Santander UK, and Virgin Money. Alongside the participating banks, the Implementation Steering Group comprised many representative groups acting on behalf of small and medium sized businesses.

For more information visit the BBRS website https://thebbrs.org/