Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) urges SMEs in Wales to register unresolved historical banking complaints
A new, independent and free dispute resolution service, the Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) is appealing directly to Welsh businesses to see if their unresolved banking disputes can be tackled.
It is estimated that nearly 600,000 UK SMEs could qualify for the BBRS’ independent, free-of-charge specialist dispute resolution services dating back to 2001.
This includes businesses which have since closed down, merged or been sold. If the BBRS upholds a complaint, it can make a financial or non-financial award against a bank, up to £350,000 for historical cases and £600,000+ for contemporary cases.
The BBRS is urging businesses with outstanding banking disputes to see if they can apply for support by getting in touch or using a quick online tool, particularly those with older unresolved complaints, as the deadline for historical complaint applications is 14 February 2023.
ONS data shows that some 18,000 businesses in Wales operated during this period at the larger SME size, with a turnover that would qualify them for BBRS support.
Vaughan Gething, Welsh Government’s Economy Minister, said: “Accessing finance is absolutely crucial for every type of businesses, especially our small and medium sized businesses.”
“During the Covid pandemic, we’ve pulled every lever possible to support them, with targeted assistance from the Welsh Government’s Business Wales Service and the Development Bank for Wales providing a real lifeline for thousands of SMEs across Wales, helping to save jobs in communities across the country.”
“Many businesses seeking to pursue dispute resolution against their bank will potentially face real barriers on that journey. This BBRS service, which Business Wales can help refer business through to, will provide that highly valuable support many businesses will need, helping them back on the road to recovery.”
Ben Cottam, Head of Wales at Federation of Small Businesses, said: “As a partner in the service, the Federation of Small Businesses is really pleased to see the launch of the BBRS.”
“The more touch points that we can provide for BBRS with the SME community, the more awareness that we can generate, and the more confidence that will instil in addressing those historical concerns that businesses might have”.
The BBRS is fully independent and free to use. The process is overseen by Chief Adjudicator, Alexandra Marks CBE, a Deputy High Court Judge, and resolves disputes based on what is fair and reasonable for each case.
Businesses going through the service will be assigned a highly skilled dispute resolution specialist, who will act as a single point of contact and offer practical support.
Dirk Paterson, Customer Director, BBRS, said: “We want as many businesses as possible – and directors of those no longer operating – to have the opportunity to use the BBRS’ service.”
“This includes businesses, trusts, and charities, friendly societies, and co-operative societies.We urge them to see if they qualify for our help and, if so, to register. If unsure, businesses can check online or contact us to discuss their situation.”
The BBRS can also assess more recent ongoing complaints through its Contemporary Scheme, which covers cases for the period from 1 April 2019 onwards: it is for businesses with turnover up to £10m per annum; and total assets up to £7.5m; and which are not eligible to take their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The BBRS’ Historical Scheme covers banking complaints first registered in the period from 1 December 2001 to 31 March 2019. Businesses may qualify for support if they had turnover between £1 million and £6.5 million per annum at the time of their complaint, and their case has not already been settled, been subject to an independent review, or gone to court.
Businesses with turnover between £6.5m and £10m with unresolved banking complaints since April 2019 can apply to the BBRS’ Contemporary Scheme for support.
Find out more, contact the BBRS (or arrange a call-back) and use a quick online checking tool to see if they can help: www.thebbrs.org/register Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com