RBS boss passes the buck over treat­ment of small busi­nesses

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

ROYAL BANK of Scot­land boss Ross McE­wan has passed the buck to lower-tier ex­ec­u­tives, say­ing they are to blame for the lender’s mis­treat­ment of small busi­nesses at the hands of its con­tro­ver­sial re­struc­tur­ing unit.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive made the com­ments dur­ing an hours-long grilling in front of the Trea­sury Se­lect Com­mit­tee yes­ter­day, where MPs asked who was ul­ti­mately to blame for the fail­ings of be­hav­iour at the Global Re­struc­tur­ing Group (GRG).

“Well I think it has to be the senior ex­ec­u­tive of that op­er­a­tion that takes the ac­count­abil­ity,” he said, sug­gest­ing blame would not be placed on board­room lead­ers of the bank.

“We’ve ac­tu­ally got a num­ber of peo­ple whose pay and longterm pay has been sus­pended while these re­views go on and while the FCA (Fi­nan­cial Con­duct Author­ity) does their re­view as well,” he added, re­fer­ring to those con­nected with the man­age­ment of the GRG dur­ing the pe­riod in ques­tion. A small num­ber of those are still em­ployed by RBS.

The state-backed lender has been dogged by al­le­ga­tions that it in­ten­tion­ally pushed small busi­nesses to­wards fail­ure in the hope of pick­ing up their as­sets on the cheap.

The FCA is still in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether to take fur­ther ac­tion over the unit’s ac­tions be­tween 2008 and 2011 af­ter pub­lish­ing a sum­mary re­port into GRG last year.

RBS had pre­vi­ously claimed the vast ma­jor­ity of busi­nesses were suc­cess­fully turned around by GRG, but Mr McE­wan ad­mit­ted the def­i­ni­tion in­cluded those busi­nesses go­ing into liq­ui­da­tion.

Mr McE­wan said: “Let me be quite clear with the com­mit­tee: we did not do a good job with these cus­tomers and the re­port shows that – we did not do a good job.

“At the time when they were in most need of help this or­gan­i­sa­tion in many, many cases and far too many cases was not there giv­ing them the help they needed.”

ROSS McE­WAN: ‘We did not do a good job with these cus­tomers and the re­port shows that.’

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