The historical scheme will close for new complaints in six months, on 14 February 2023. The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) is urging charity and third sector organisations to check now whether their unresolved banking disputes can be tackled and if so, to register before this date.
Organisations can check via BBRS’s online tool, and those eligible could benefit from free dispute resolution.
Dirk Paterson, Customer Director at the BBRS said:
“We want as many businesses as possible to have the opportunity to use the BBRS’ service. This includes businesses, trusts, charities, friendly societies, and co-operative societies. It includes directors of businesses no longer operating. We urge them to see if they qualify for our help and, if so, to register. If they’re unsure, businesses can check online or contact us to find out more.”
The BBRS is a not-for-profit, independent service, established to resolve disputes between SMEs and their bank. The service resolves disputes based on what is fair and reasonable for each case. Organisations are assigned a dispute resolution specialist known as the customer champion who acts as a single point of contact and offers practical support. The BBRS can make both financial and non-financial awards when a complaint is upheld.
The BBRS historical scheme covers banking complaints first registered in the period from 1 December 2001 to 31 March 2019. Organisations 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. This includes organisations, charities and trusts which have since closed, merged or been sold.
It can also assess more recent unresolved complaints through its contemporary scheme, which covers cases for the period from 1 April 2019 onwards. This is open to organisations with turnover up to £10 million per annum, and total assets up to £7.5 million, which are not eligible to take their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Liz Barclay, Small Business Commissioner commented:
“UK charities and third sector organisations are essential to our communities, and yet many are struggling as the rising cost of operating (inflation in materials, wages, energy, fuel, and interest rate rises) threatens their survival.
“At no point has it ever been more important for organisations to proactively challenge financial issues, whether that’s related to late payments or tackling banking disputes. I am pleading with all small and medium sized organisations, including charities, trusts and third sector enterprises, to grasp this opportunity to have their banking complaints, many of which are long-standing, resolved through the BBRS’s free and impartial service. If you think your current organisation or a previous one, could benefit contact the BBRS and see if they can help.”