A report into the way Royal Bank of Scotland treated its small-business customers may not be published until the new year, MPs were told on Thursday.
During a lengthy backbench debate on the future of the bailed-out bank, the Conservative MP Guto Bebb said a report commissioned by the Financial Conduct Authority into allegations that RBS pushed customers to the brink to make profits would be pushed into 2016.
Bebb, who campaigns for small businesses, said that “members would be disappointed to hear that at a meeting with RBS this morning, it was confirmed that it is not expecting the FCA report until the new year, so the hope of having something in our Christmas stocking has been taken away”.
RBS admitted that the report into its now defunct global restructuring group was one of the barriers it faced to full recovery when it published its third-quarter results last week. The regulator commissioned the report after accusations were raised by businessman Lawrence Tomlinson.
During the sparsely attended debate, MPs raised the cases of constituents who had been concerned about their treatment by the bank. But the debate also focused on whether the government should continue to sell off its stake in the bank after finally beginning the process of reducing its holding in the summer. As a result of the sale – at a £1bn loss – the government stake has fallen to 74% from the 79% it stood at following the 2008 taxpayer bailout.
Kate Osamor, a Labour MP, called on the government to consider suspending the further sale of its shares in the RBS and to look at alternative options. She said there should also be a review of the UK’s financial sector and that the government should look at the case for establishing new models of banking, including regional banks.
Leading the debate, she said: “Reforming RBS into a network of local banks would increase financial stability, help decentralise the economy, boost lending for small and medium-sized enterprises, maintain local branch lending, and help restore faith in British banking.”
This article was written by Jill Treanor, for theguardian.com on Thursday 5th November 2015 17.28 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010