We reported in a recent blog on the announcement that the Treasury Select Committee (TSC) had begun investigating the banks’ treatment of SMEs, covering everything from lack of financing to bullying.
The first session heard evidence from Sir Andrew Large, Laurence Tomlinson and the Financial Conduct Authority and on February 25 it was the turn of Prof Russel Griggs OBE, Independent External Reviewer of the Banking Taskforce Appeals Process.
However, according to reports in the International Business Times, despite the best efforts of his interlocutors, Griggs’ evidence was less than critical of the banks’ behaviour and in his view SMEs’ opinions about banks were “more about perception than reality”. Here are just a couple of quotes:
“I don’t think I have ever seen a bank which has deliberately gone out of the way to upset the customer.”
And: “Banks have also provided a lot of training for relationship managers over the last two years as well. Yes, [they are fit for purpose].”
Details of further sessions and formal terms of reference will apparently be announced in due course.
Unfortunately scrutiny of the TSC’s schedule for the next month on its website currently shows no further sessions yet.
While clearly investigations have to be thorough, objective and careful, one has to ask how many more SMEs will perish as a result of their bank’s actions due to the time taken to seek redress.