Launch of the Business Banking Resolution Service
The Business Banking Resolution Service (“BBRS”) officially launched on Monday 15 February 2021. The BBRS is a new alternative dispute resolution scheme for the financial industry and is intended to bridge the gap for banking claims which do not fall into the jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service and to resolve complaints for small and medium sized business that have not previously had access to an independent review. The BBRS has the backing of a number of leading banks participating including Barclays Bank PLC, Danske Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Natwest (including the Royal Bank of Scotland) Santander and Virgin Money (Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank).
To enter the BBRS scheme you must be:
- A sole trader or business organisation that is was at the time of the matters alleged in the complaint a business customer of the participating bank; or
- Personal guarantor of one of the above; or
- A recognise assignee of the above; or
- A dissolved business entity that was at the time of the matters alleged in the complaint a business customer of the participating bank.
The dissolved business entity will apply to this historical schemes only and there is a further eligibility to be satisfied if dissolved entities or business that are insolvent are to be considered eligible for the BBRS.
Contemporary and historic schemes
Within the BBRS process there are two schemes:
- The Contemporary scheme which will cover cases from 1 April 2019 onwards, for businesses with a turnover of up to £10million per annum, total assets of up to £7.5 million and you must have made a complaint to your bank and fall outside the scope and jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service.
- The Historical Scheme covers the period from 1 December 2001 to 31 March 2019 and is for businesses with a turnover of up to £6.5 million per annum; total assets up to £5 million and which were not eligible to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service and did not have access to an independent review.
A complaint must not have been subject to litigation or settled previously.
The Current Process
The BBRS will undoubtedly evolve over time. However, the scheme will use the full range of dispute resolution techniques – from settlement and mediation through to full adjudication – with the aim of resolving cases between businesses and banks on a “fair and reasonable” basis, taking into account all of the relevant information available. The awards can be a financial and non-financial and there are caps based on the scheme being entered into. The contemporary scheme is capped at £600,000 and the historical scheme is capped at £350,000. However, BBRS have indicated that in some instances they can recommend the Bank pays an award above the stated caps and the Bank is required to consider such a recommendation in good faith.
How Can Ellis Jones Help?
Ellis Jones’ Banking & Finance Litigation solicitors have specialist knowledge and expertise across a broad range of areas. We act for a broad range of commercial clients in disputes with financial institutions and have recovered in excess of £60 million on their behalves. If you feel you may have a valid complaint to be considered through the BBRS scheme please contact either William Fox Bregman or William Dooley in our Banking and Financial Litigation team by calling 01202 057733. Alternatively, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.