Metro Bank launches new SME Finance service

By |May 22nd, 2014

Recently-launched high street bank Metro Bank today announced the launch of Metro Bank SME Finance, a new invoice and asset financing platform for small businesses.
Created following the bank’s acquisition of SME Invoice Finance and Asset Finance in August 2013, the Metro Bank SME Finance brand will offer a range of lending services to small firms, allowing them to borrow against unpaid invoices and assets.
Founded in 2010, Metro Bank is the UK’s first high street bank to be granted a licence by […]

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    Lloyds sues RBS for £420m over ‘misleading’ rights issue

Lloyds sues RBS for £420m over ‘misleading’ rights issue

By |May 22nd, 2014

Cartoon by Steve Camley
In an unprecedented move, taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group is suing Government-owned Royal Bank of Scotland over the Gogarburn-based bank’s “misleading” £12 billion rights issue.
In what is seen as the first American-style class action to hit the English courts, Lloyds, which is suing RBS through nine of its pensions and investment management subsidiaries, has joined more than 40,000 individual and institutional investors already seeking redress from RBS.
Lloyds’ £420million claim takes the total for all investors suing RBS […]

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Sir Richard Lambert launches UK banking standards council

By |May 21st, 2014

By Sharlene Goff, FT Retail Banking Correspondent
A new organisation charged with raising standards in the banking industry will rely on public naming and shaming of lenders that fall short as it attempts to clean up the sector after a series of misconduct scandals.
The UK’s seven largest lenders have agreed to report each year to the new Banking Standards Review Council.  The body will set standards for “culture, competence and customer outcomes” and publish an annual report detailing where banks […]

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    New RBS finance chief £1.9m ‘golden hello’ reigniting controversy over bonuses

New RBS finance chief £1.9m ‘golden hello’ reigniting controversy over bonuses

By |May 21st, 2014

Royal Bank of Scotland has courted further controversy over ‘fat cat’ pay after handing a £1.9million ‘golden hello’ to its new finance chief.
Ewen Stevenson was awarded 584,506 shares on his first day in the job on Monday to compensate him for payments he forfeited at his previous employer Credit Suisse.  RBS shares are currently worth 326p each, up 2.3p on the day. Stevenson will enjoy an annual package of £1.9million a year, including a £800,000 salary, £280,000 in pension […]

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    Tomlinson – Government influenced by lobbyists came as a real shock to me.

Tomlinson – Government influenced by lobbyists came as a real shock to me.

By |May 16th, 2014

There is a “revolving door” between the civil service and the lobbying industry, Lawrence Tomlinson said.
Lobbyists for the banking industry have become “indispensable” to ministers because they fund programmes and the control information on which civil servants depend.
David Cameron once described lobbying as the “next big scandal waiting to happen”.
Mr Tomlinson made an estimated £550 million fortune investing in care homes, construction, IT and sports cars.

He spent a year as the Business Department’s “entrepreneur in residence”, advising Vince Cable, […]

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    SMEs still reluctant to switch banks despite continued finance concerns

SMEs still reluctant to switch banks despite continued finance concerns

By |May 16th, 2014

16% feel that difficulties in obtaining access to finance from their bank is an ongoing worry, research shows.
Despite the ongoing concerns over access to finance, charges and calling in loans, small business owners remain reluctant to switch banks according to the latest research from national business group the Forum of Private Business.
The Forum’s banking and finance survey indicates that just over half of small businesses surveyed were content with their current banking arrangements and thought they offered good or […]

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    Budget Report: ‘Access to finance remains a problem for SMEs’

Budget Report: ‘Access to finance remains a problem for SMEs’

By |May 16th, 2014

In its report into the 2014 Budget, the Treasury Committee has reiterated the difficulties SMEs face when seeking finance – something which is preventing some businesses from reaching their full potential and hindering the economy.
Robert Wood, Chief UK Economist at Berenberg Bank and witness for the Committee, said: “very poor availability of finance over the past few years has almost certainly prevented some rapidly growing firms from expanding.”

It’s a view shared by fellow witness, the Confederation of British Industry […]

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Rush to join multi-billion pound RBS legal actions

By |May 11th, 2014

ANGRY shareholders in Royal Bank of Scotland have made a late rush to join legal actions over its controversial £12 billion rights issue in 2008.
The deadline for suits related to the cash call on investors expires on Wednesday and one of the main action groups has seen a trebling of institutions seeking damages.
As a result, the claim led by British legal firm Stewarts Law is now expected to raise the sum being sought through the High Court from “hundreds […]

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Lloyds comeback kid Antonio Horta-Osorio halts rot

By |May 11th, 2014

WHEN he steps on to the platform to face shareholders at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre this week, Antonio Horta-Osorio may be excused a wry smile.
Just over two years ago, and just eight months into the job, the chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group was forced to take leave of absence, suffering from stress and exhaustion.
Analysts and investors alike believed it was impossible for the suave Portuguese to return to the job of tackling one of the biggest turnaround […]

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    Lord Myners calls for radical overhaul of Co-operative Group

Lord Myners calls for radical overhaul of Co-operative Group

By |May 8th, 2014

The Co-operative Group needs a radical boardroom overhaul if it is to survive the traumatic shocks of the past year, the City veteran charged with reforming the troubled chain of supermarkets, funeral homes and pharmacies has warned.
Lord Myners, Labour’s City minister during the banking crisis, described a “dysfunctional” board in which some directors did not know the difference between debits and credits and “clearly out of their depth when financial concepts and terminology are used”.
He said he realised within 30 minutes […]

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Can banking clean up its act? A speech by Lionel Barber

By |May 5th, 2014

A speech by Lionel Barber, Financial Times editor, at Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge, May 1, 2014. An accompanying video can be viewed here.
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, I am delighted to be here tonight at Hughes Hall in the University of Cambridge. This is the prestigious City lecture, but sadly I will not be providing slides. As Lord Acton might have said, power tends to corrupt, PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.
Tonight I want to talk about bankers and banking. These days, bankers are […]

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RBS complain about ban on massive bonuses to fat cat staff

By |May 5th, 2014

Ross McEwan’s gripe follows the bank showing higher profits – at the cost of 6300 jobs.  The bleating boss of bailed-out bank RBS has complained he’s not allowed to pay big enough bonuses.
Chief executive Ross McEwan sparked fury by warning that key staff might walk out over the Government’s refusal to back his plan for whopping bonuses for 2014.
He was speaking as 81 per cent taxpayer-owned RBS revealed pre-tax profits of £1.6billion for the three months to the end […]

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65% of SME’s rejected for a loan want to try alternatives

By |May 5th, 2014

A government consultation ended last week into whether legislation should force banks to refer rejected loans to alternative sources of finance.
At present the largest four banks account for over 80% of UK SMEs’ main banking relationships. Many SMEs only approach the largest banks when seeking finance. Although a large number of these applications are rejected – in the case of first time SME borrowers the rejection rate is around 50% – a proportion of these are viable and are rejected simply because they don’t meet […]

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    May 15th Deadline for Investors joining RBS Shareholders Action Group

May 15th Deadline for Investors joining RBS Shareholders Action Group

By |April 27th, 2014

Investors wishing to join the class action lawsuits against the Royal Bank of Scotland over its “misleading” April 2008 rights issue have until Thursday, 15 May 2014 to decide whether to proceed.

The cut-off point was laid down by the judge in the case, Mr Justice Hildyard as part of a group litigation order (see Hildyard’s judgment of 12 February).

With 12,500 members including ex-RBS and NatWest staff, retail investors and institutional investors, the RBOS Shareholders Action Group maintains that RBS and four […]

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    Barclays Shareholders Warn Bank It Is ‘Telling Customers To Go To Hell’

Barclays Shareholders Warn Bank It Is ‘Telling Customers To Go To Hell’

By |April 27th, 2014

Barclays is “telling customers to go to hell” rather than becoming the “go to” bank, shareholders warned bank bosses during an angry annual general meeting in London today.
Barclays bosses faced shareholder anger as a succession of speakers were applauded when they criticised the bank’s remuneration policy. One mockingly asked if the bank’s overdraft fees were a sign that Barclays should “get ready to merge” with payday loan giant Wonga. Barclays recently defied calls for restraint over its executive pay and bonuses […]

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  • Signs welcome shareholders to the Barclays' AGM in central London

Hobbling RBS will cost us dear

By |April 27th, 2014

When Fred Goodwin was shown the door at RBS in the early hours of October 13 2008, the ice-cool chief executive became emotional and tears flowed. Five and a half years later, it is British taxpayers who should be crying.
When the government paid £45.2 billion to rescue what had briefly been the biggest bank in the world, politicians on all sides insisted that it would be run on a hands-off basis. The state would not use its 82 per […]

Shareholders Action Group – Thousands of staff line up to sue RBS

By |April 27th, 2014

A third of the 12,000-plus individuals signed up to sue Royal Bank of Scotland over its allegedly “misleading” £12.3 billion rights issue are current or former members of staff at the bank.

RBS Shareholders’ Action Group, the largest of the investor groups suing RBS over the 2008 rights issue, said it processed its 4000th application from a current or former RBS member of staff last Thursday. That application is understood to have come from an Edinburgh-based risk expert.

Most of the […]

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Vince Cable – Bankers’ Pay Still Extraordinarily Large

By |April 24th, 2014

Vince Cable has issued a stark warning to Britain’s leading boardrooms that they need to crack down on bonuses to restore public trust and avert the threat of fresh legislation to limit executive pay.

The business secretary fired off a warning to the 100 biggest UK-listed companies about the damage big pay deals can have on their image, before Barclays’ annual meeting on Thursday, where protests about the bank’s £2.4bn bonus pot are expected to be registered by disgruntled shareholders.

Cable told […]

RBS Mulling Over Legal Action Against Lawrence Tomlinson

By |April 22nd, 2014

Jon Pain, the head of regulatory affairs at RBS, said the claims by the adviser to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills had done serious damage to the bank’s reputation since his 20-page report was published in November and legal action could not be ruled out.

Royal Bank of Scotland is considering legal action against the millionaire businessman behind a damning report that accused the taxpayer-backed lender of deliberately putting customers out of business for profit.  The bank may […]

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New crowdfunding rules: implications for small businesses

By |April 22nd, 2014

SMEs are increasingly looking at crowdfunding as a way of raising finance without dealing with bureaucratic banks and fickle investors. However, new rules by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which came into force recently, regulate certain types of crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding involves raising finance by taking small investments, loans or donations from a large number of people. Depending on who you believe, the new FCA rules have either “taken the crowd out of crowdfunding” or “represent the right balance between the freedom […]