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UK Regs Won’t Publish Report On RBS’s Small Biz Scandal

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will not publish a report on its probe into allegations against the Royal Bank of Scotland pertaining to how it treated some of its small business customers, according to an article in the New York Times on Friday (Sept. 15).

The decision was met with criticism by some of the companies seeking compensation from the bank, reports said, and is likely to be met with resistance by parliament’s Treasury Select Committee. The Committee had called for the FCA to publish the full report after portions of it were leaked by the BBC.

But FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey said it would not be in the public interest to release the full report, because such reports are conducted with the understanding they will be kept private. Instead, the FCA plans to publish a “detailed summary,” the publication said, one which will offer RBS the opportunity to respond.

“I believe that we are near to reaching a conclusion on whether a former investigation is called for,” said Bailey.

Documents leaked last year suggest RBS could have profited from the closure of some small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) which were forced into the bank’s Global Restructuring Unit. Some businesses guided into that program, which was intended to help ailing businesses, had never missed a loan payment, according to reports. SMBs in that unit faced fees and heightened interest rates forcing some companies to close down altogether, reports added.

According to RSC chair Nicky Morgan, those document leaks led to confusion over what happened to SMBs in the Global Restructuring Unit. He argued publication of the full report would help clear up that confusion.

“Following my letter to Mr. Bailey earlier this month, Committee colleagues and I have been overwhelmed by messages from those who consider that their businesses and livelihoods were destroyed by RBS’ [GRU],” Morgan said in a statement. “Those affected have a right to know what really happened. The Committee is due to see the FCA next month, and I have no doubt that these issues will be raised.”

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