BBRS is urging businesses to see if they can apply for their support using their quick online tool.
A new, independent and free dispute resolution service, the Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) is appealing directly to businesses within the retail and wholesale sectors 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. The BBRS is urging businesses with outstanding banking disputes to see if they can apply for support 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 111,500 retail and wholesale businesses operated during this period at the larger SME size, with a turnover that would qualify them for BBRS support.
Liz Barclay, the UK’s Small Business Commissioner and a former CEO at Citizens Advice, said: “Small and mid-sized businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy, and we need to do all we can to help them recover and thrive after the pandemic. The opportunity, particularly for medium-sized firms, to have their, often long-standing, banking complaints settled by an independent, high quality dispute resolution service could make a real difference to their futures. If you think your current firm or a previous one, could benefit, whether you’re an owner or a director, contact the BBRS and see if they can help.”
Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, said: “It has been a testing period for so many of the UK’s small and mid-sized businesses. We have taken unprecedented measures to keep alive the creativity, dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit which they bring to every sector of the economy and every community.
“It is important that businesses who have unresolved disputes with their bank check to see if they can receive support. Services like the BBRS will play a vital role in ensuring SME and their owners, past and present, can access expert advice and support for vital issues such as unresolved banking complaints, not only as we build back better from this pandemic but also well into the future.”
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. 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 (and it can recommend more).
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, 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 find out more.”
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.
To 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