Bank case finds note of discord

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Hundreds of callers laid siege to the phone lines of anti-bank campaigners yesterday following the High Court judgment on Monday against Lloyds Bank.

Allegations of bad advice, hard-nose tactics and other financial improprieties, including fraud, were among the litany of complaints against all high street banks.

Despite the pounds 77,500 damages award to Julia Verity and Richard Spindler, the couple who sued Lloyds for negligent advice, campaigners warned that the legal road against banks might be too rocky for many.

Pat Griffiths, co-ordinator of the Banking Action Group, said: "The phones have not stopped ringing. People are calling with all sorts of complaints. In some ways, I feel a sense of disappointment about the judgment. It was a legal one-off and the couple only got a small proportion of what they were claiming.

"Generally, what happens is that the banks will fight you every inch of the way. One case, which was resolved recently, took nine years to come to court and the bank only settled on the court steps."

Eddy Weatherill, of the Huntingdon-based Independent Banking Advisory Service, said his group had been swamped with inquiries. "I had been expecting calls from people who had already been in touch with us. What we have been receiving is calls from new people. Their complaints range from allegations of bad advice, to wondering what their legal position might be if their businesses did go under."