Many months ago I wrote about a debt charity that was put at risk by the actions – or lack of action – of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Derby-based Direct Help and Advice accused RBS of costing it at least £150,000 by mis-selling an interest rate hedging product.
The charity – which helps people at risk of being made homeless – had its mis-selling claim hearing in August 2013, but by the turn of the year was still waiting for a decision, forcing it to warn that it might have to shut down some of its services or close altogether, putting 40 staff out of work. After our article, the bank agreed it had mis-sold the product and handed over £150,000. But since then it has dragged its feet over compensation.
Rafe Nauen, the DHA chair of trustees, said: “We have a claim of £350,000 made up of additional costs and losses caused by the bank. We have asked for an interim payment of £63,000 to enable us to get back to providing our normal services, but they have even refused that.” The situation has left the charity facing closure again.
That’s not right. RBS has admitted it was at fault but is yet to put things right. It seems to be another case of a big bank ignoring the plight of at-risk customers.
RBS said: “The review of DHA’s claim has taken time to ensure it is assessed diligently and fairly and is subject to governance and agreement from an FCA-approved Independent Reviewer. A formal response will be made as soon as possible.” Let’s hope the bank responds in time to save the charity from having to close.