On the case of the ‘Bully Banks’

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Local MP Andrew George has pledged to increase the pressure on banks guilty of misconduct towards small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

He attended the ‘Bully Banks’ campaign day in Westminster this week to show his support for local SMEs damaged by the misconduct of high street banks.

And he met Leigh Chadwick who was one of several hundred small businesses owners who attended the ‘Brolly-Day’ campaign day and met with their MPs.

Andrew George (l) with Seasalt director Leigh Chadwick
Andrew George (l) with Seasalt director Leigh Chadwick

Chadwick’s family-owned Seasalt ltd – which was first set up by his father Don Chadwick in 1981 in Penzance – now employs over 300 people. However, the misconduct of its bank in 2008 in selling an inappropriate financial product constrained Seasalt’s growth and created uncertainty during difficult economic times.

Chadwick said: “We have been fortunate that our business has grown and thrived over the last few years, but without the incredible hard work from everyone across the company, and the strength and popularity of Seasalt products, the appalling behaviour of our previous bank could have ruined us and led to many job losses.

“We were fortunate that we were able to switch banks, and our current bankers, Clydesdale, have been very supportive.”

George said: “Seasalt is far from the only local company mistreated in this way. They were lucky and survived these exploitative practices. Others fought hard but have sadly had to throw in the towel with the consequence of debts, bankruptcy, loss of jobs and business from our local communities.

“The behaviour displayed by these bully banks is horrific. But it is encouraging to see that steady, albeit slow, progress is being made.

“However, it is extremely worrying and frustrating that hundreds of businesses continue to suffer due to a still inadequate Financial Conduct Authority scheme which still lacks real teeth. I have again written to the Chancellor to demand that banks deliver full and immediate redress to the many businesses damaged by bank misconduct.

“I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that justice is served and that Seasalt and other local businesses receive full redress.”