Research from the Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS), an independent and free dispute resolution service, has revealed that one in nine SMEs are experiencing challenges with their banks.
The research, based on the views of 750 small business leaders, found that pandemic-related disruption (59%), recruitment challenges (31%) and Brexit-related disruption (29%) are the issues most commonly reported by UK SMEs. Yet many SMEs continue to face banking challenges, despite 91% trusting their banks to run business accounts effectively.
The BBRS’ research also revealed that 93% of SMEs would complain to their bank if they had a business banking issue. Among those that have lodged a complaint with their current business’ bank, the majority (61%) have received a satisfactory response. Of the minority (37%) that have not, the BBRS may be able to help.
The BBRS is a fully independent, free to use, non-profit organisation set up to resolve disputes between eligible larger SMEs and participating banks, based on what is fair and reasonable for each case. The process is overseen by Chief Adjudicator, Alexandra Marks CBE, a Deputy High Court Judge. 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 in suitable cases).
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.
It 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.
Dirk Paterson, Customer Director at BBRS, said: “Britain’s small businesses are facing a hugely challenging period, and it’s important that they are aware of the help available. We urge small businesses that have experienced issues with their banks to get in touch to see if they qualify for our help and, if so, to register as soon as possible.”