Treasury and Business Ministers welcome BBRS final launch preparations and look ahead to service going live

Ministers today threw their weight behind the upcoming launch of the Business Banking Resolution Service, which will resolve past and contemporary disputes between larger SMEs and their banks.

Speaking at a BBRS Westminster pre-launch briefing for Members of Parliament, John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, emphasised the important role that the BBRS will play in building trust and confidence between SMEs and their banks and in improving the climate for investment, by helping larger SMEs borrow with greater confidence.

John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, commented:

“Banks and financial firms are working hard to rebuild trust with smaller businesses – especially through the pandemic when they’ve swiftly issued the government-backed loans that have helped many firms stay afloat. The Business Banking Resolution Service is another step in that journey of renewal and will help to give small businesses confidence to seek the finance they need to create jobs and grow.”

Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, said:

“Small businesses are the bedrock of the UK economy, employing three-fifths of the country’s workforce, and will play a key role in our economic recovery. The launch of the BBRS will bolster SME confidence in lenders and encourage them to take up external finance, as we look to build back better from coronavirus.”

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

“I’d like to thank Ministers for their support for this important project. That support has been central to getting to where we are today on the brink of launch.

“I hope we will make a contribution to improving the climate for investment by increasing the confidence of SMEs to borrow to grow out of the pandemic crisis. And I also hope we will go some way to promoting trust and confidence between the banks and the SME sector.”

Mr Shand Smith said he expected the BBRS to go live very early in the New Year, once the participating banks completed their respective governance processes, which will happen as quickly as possible.

The banks supporting the scheme represent about 80% of the business banking market and it will be open to others to join in the future. The participating banks are currently:

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

The pre-launch briefing, which was designed to enable MPs and their teams understand how the BBRS stands ready to help with problems faced by potentially eligible constituent SMEs, also heard from a panel discussion about how the BBRS will work in practice.

The panel featured: Samantha Barrass, CEO of the BBRS; Alexandra Marks, Chief Adjudicator of the BBRS; Kevin Hollinrake MP, Chair of the APPG on Fair Business Banking; Lucy Armstrong, CEO of The Alchemists and Non-Executive Director of the BBRS; and Stephen Pegge, Managing Director, Commercial Finance UK Finance and Non-Executive Director of the BBRS.

The BBRS is organising similar events in Belfast – later this month – and in Edinburgh and in Cardiff to ensure that elected representatives know how the UK-wide scheme can provide support and assistance to businesses who approach them for advice.

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Notes to Editors

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 is being established in accordance with a voluntary commitment made by the banking and finance industry in response to the Simon Walker Review on the small business complaints landscape.

An Implementation Steering Group was established in January 2019, and is driving and overseeing 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 (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 Implementation Steering Group comprises many representative groups acting on behalf of small and medium sized businesses.

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