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Sunday 17 December 2017

Complaints over Ulster Bank go to UK watchdog

A pedestrian crosses a road outside the headquarters of Ulster Bank
A pedestrian crosses a road outside the headquarters of Ulster Bank

Greg Harkin

BRITAIN'S financial regulator is to be given files alleging malpractice by Ulster Bank in the Republic of Ireland in an "unprecedented" move by a UK government adviser.

Dozens of business people who allege their companies were deliberately brought down have filed complaints with Dr Lawrence Tomlinson, who reports directly to UK Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Dr Tomlinson met more than 50 of them at a hotel in Co Antrim yesterday, half of them travelling from the Republic to air their grievances.

The Yorkshire businessman said he had agreed to pass all their cases, from north and south of the Border, to the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The organisation said that it has started its independent review of Royal Bank of Scotland's (RBS) and Ulster Bank's treatment of business customers. The Promontory Financial Group and Mazars will conduct the report.

The British government owns 81pc of Ulster Bank and Dr Tomlinson published a damning report on Ulster Bank and its parent company RBS last November

Dr Tomlinson said yesterday he had been assured those making complaints would have their identities protected from Ulster Bank.

"We have agreed to pass on all the complaints from Ireland to the FCA. This is an unprecedented investigation," he told the Irish Independent.

"The FCA for its part has given assurances that no one will be identified to the banks; when they go into RBS and Ulster Bank they will pull thousands of files and not just individual ones."

The multi-millionaire care-home chain owner said it was "now absolutely clear" that Ulster Bank had treated customers poorly.

"Over and over again we are talking to people from Ireland, north and south, whose businesses were taken into the Global Restructuring Group, and these people were told it was a turnaround division of RBS and Ulster Bank," he said.

Irish Independent

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