Hoteliers: We are victims of Royal Bank of Scotland

Dorset Echo: Roy Haywood, left, and Andrew Coupe Roy Haywood, left, and Andrew Coupe

THE former directors of a multimillion pound Portland hotel, spa and business park claim to be victims of bank lending practices they say forced them out of business.

Roy Haywood and Andrew Coupe, former directors of Southwell Business Park and the Portland Spa Hotel, are forwarding their details to financial investigators who are investigating ‘unscrupulous’ practices by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

A government report says RBS ‘harmed customers through their decisions and caused their financial downfall’.

The bank has defended itself against the allegations and has launched an investigation.

Mr Haywood and Mr Coupe and their fellow directors called in the administrators in 2009 when they became what appeared to be victims of the recession.

Around 100 jobs were lost by staff at the £10million hotel and spa from local suppliers.

The government report, carried out by entrepreneur Lawrence Tomlinson for Business Secretary Vince Cable, looked into small business lending.

In some cases, state-backed bank RBS is said to have withdrawn lines of credit for previously solvent firms by charging high fees and charges so it could then seize assets, typically property, at cheaper prices.

Mr Coupe said: “Since 2009 we have lived with this situation. It’s only now since this report was commissioned by the government to probe into the complaints we’ve thought: ‘This sounds like what happened to us’.”

The combined Portland hotel and spa business had an asset value of £17.2million in April 2008, surveyors Savills confirmed.

The business had borrowed £10million from RBS – which was covered by its assets – the former directors say.

However, eight months later RBS said the site value had dropped to £10million because of a chaotic property market.

A condition of the loan was a 6.7 per cent ‘rate capping’ deal with the bank’s nominated insurance providers.

Mr Haywood said within 18 months this cost the business around £100,000 a year above the then bank interest rate.

After a series of meetings about finance, the company’s account was transferred to the bank’s special division Global Restructuring Group, which – Mr Haywood and Mr Coupe say – oversaw the demise of the Southwell Business Park company.

Despite the directors telling the bank they were close to securing a multi-million pound contract with LOCOG in connection with the London 2012 Olympic sailing in Wemyouth and Portland, RBS instructed administrators that the property must be sold within eight weeks.

Mr Haywood said: “This enforced sale of Southwell Business Park and its subsidiaries by RBS resulted in the loss of some 100 jobs and a catastrophic consequence for a variety of local supplier businesses and also contractors working on the site development.

“The shareholders personally lost around £6million.”

He added: “The company going into administration cost a lot of people their jobs.”

Details are being passed on to investigators through Mr Haywood and Mr Coupe’s solicitors.

Both men are seeking financial recompense from RBS.

 

• Bank 'to investigate' allegations

RBS has commissioned a review into the allegations.

CEO Ross McEwan said: “Serious allegations have been made about how some of these customers were treated by the bank.

“We have to investigate those fully and we will.

“The review I have commissioned will examine the details of the allegations that have been made and will have access to whatever information it needs.

“It is important to note that the most serious allegation that has been made is that RBS conducted a ‘systematic’ effort to profit on the back of our customers when they were in financial distress.

“We do not believe that this is the case, but it has nonetheless done serious damage to RBS’s reputation.

“No evidence has been provided for that allegation to the bank.

“The review will investigate the claim fully and I will report back on its findings.”

Mr McEwan added that Clifford Chance will conduct the review on an independent basis, which will be lead by a regulatory partner within the firm and with a team that has had no previous dealings with Global Restructuring Group matters.

Comments (9)

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2:03pm Sat 11 Jan 14

annotater says...

• Bank 'to investigate' allegations

RBS has commissioned a review into the allegations.

That won't be biased then!
• Bank 'to investigate' allegations RBS has commissioned a review into the allegations. That won't be biased then! annotater
  • Score: 5

2:10pm Sat 11 Jan 14

Micke12 says...

I smell a cover-up heading this way from the banks point of investigation.

RBS was in deep trouble with massive debts that had to be bailed out by the then, Labour government. My concern is that now this has come about and the investigation is going ahead, both from within RBS and also at governmental level, they will cover this up as boys looking after the boys.

The only way that the people will accept this is if there is there is an totally independent review or better still, a judicial review started by the government.

The taxpayer bailed out the bank out when it was in crisis, so the only question should be is, was taxpayer money to bail out RBS then used to pay for the foreclosures and /or instructing Administrators to commence sale proceedings of supported small businesses in order to make money to pay the taxpayer back, regardless of the prosperity of the businesses targeted.

We, as tax payers, have lost a minimum of £36bn from bailing out this bank. Guess who will end up paying for the compensation claims that may ensue if these investigations lead to proof of the charges contained in this story - YES - YOU, the tax payer and the investor with this bank.

The current government will never allow the bank to fail because of he debts that will ensue from successful law suits by small investors, it will come out of the tax payer. The rich boys of Westminster will look after their own in the banking group, you can be sure of that. The only people to lose out will be Joe Public, as always
I smell a cover-up heading this way from the banks point of investigation. RBS was in deep trouble with massive debts that had to be bailed out by the then, Labour government. My concern is that now this has come about and the investigation is going ahead, both from within RBS and also at governmental level, they will cover this up as boys looking after the boys. The only way that the people will accept this is if there is there is an totally independent review or better still, a judicial review started by the government. The taxpayer bailed out the bank out when it was in crisis, so the only question should be is, was taxpayer money to bail out RBS then used to pay for the foreclosures and /or instructing Administrators to commence sale proceedings of supported small businesses in order to make money to pay the taxpayer back, regardless of the prosperity of the businesses targeted. We, as tax payers, have lost a minimum of £36bn from bailing out this bank. Guess who will end up paying for the compensation claims that may ensue if these investigations lead to proof of the charges contained in this story - YES - YOU, the tax payer and the investor with this bank. The current government will never allow the bank to fail because of he debts that will ensue from successful law suits by small investors, it will come out of the tax payer. The rich boys of Westminster will look after their own in the banking group, you can be sure of that. The only people to lose out will be Joe Public, as always Micke12
  • Score: 11

3:02pm Sat 11 Jan 14

andrew thompson61 says...

I wish the businessmen every success with their claim against this bank but I fear that they will get nowhere. I am only going by my own attempts over the last 5 and a half years to take the NatWest and RBS to Court for Fraud by my NatWest Business Manager. In April 2008 I refused to sell a property that I was building to Dave Humphreys who was my NatWest Business Manager.
3 months later I needed £10k to finish building the development. When I approached the NatWest for the additional funding to complete the works I was asked by my Business Advisor (Dave Humphreys) to give him a breakdown of the required works to be finished. This we did but having taken the list of works away my NatWest Business Advisor has torn it up and threw it away to tell the Bank that "the properties are now finished but as one last request the customer has asked for £2,500 for some railings." this was only one job off the list that was provided to him. Dave Humphreys was told by his bosses to give us the additional funding as part of a final loan which was also to repay 2 x existing loans, our OverDraft and £4,370 to pay the Banks charges for rearranging the new loan.
When Dave Humphreys made out the new Loan Agreement he has made out a loan for £442k and for the purpose of the new loan he has listed everything except the additional funding. He then told us that we were getting the £10k that we had asked for to induce us into signing a loan agreement that was not fit for purpose. To get additional funds of 32,500 from the NatWest actually cost us £40k in fees and interest over 1 year. This Bank is corrupt to the top. When you try to take the case to Court you are told that a loss of £740k is not a lot of money and the Judge just laughs and says that you got a bad deal. The NatWest Solicitor, made a mistake when he actually stood up at a Court Hearing and pointed out to the Judge that I had been told that I was only getting the £2,500 additional funding because he did not understand the paperwork and he mixed up paragraphs from internal bank notes thinking that it was the Loan Agreement that I signed. He did not want to say much more after he was corrected by me. So good luck to anyone having to take on the RBS Group
I wish the businessmen every success with their claim against this bank but I fear that they will get nowhere. I am only going by my own attempts over the last 5 and a half years to take the NatWest and RBS to Court for Fraud by my NatWest Business Manager. In April 2008 I refused to sell a property that I was building to Dave Humphreys who was my NatWest Business Manager. 3 months later I needed £10k to finish building the development. When I approached the NatWest for the additional funding to complete the works I was asked by my Business Advisor (Dave Humphreys) to give him a breakdown of the required works to be finished. This we did but having taken the list of works away my NatWest Business Advisor has torn it up and threw it away to tell the Bank that "the properties are now finished but as one last request the customer has asked for £2,500 for some railings." this was only one job off the list that was provided to him. Dave Humphreys was told by his bosses to give us the additional funding as part of a final loan which was also to repay 2 x existing loans, our OverDraft and £4,370 to pay the Banks charges for rearranging the new loan. When Dave Humphreys made out the new Loan Agreement he has made out a loan for £442k and for the purpose of the new loan he has listed everything except the additional funding. He then told us that we were getting the £10k that we had asked for to induce us into signing a loan agreement that was not fit for purpose. To get additional funds of 32,500 from the NatWest actually cost us £40k in fees and interest over 1 year. This Bank is corrupt to the top. When you try to take the case to Court you are told that a loss of £740k is not a lot of money and the Judge just laughs and says that you got a bad deal. The NatWest Solicitor, made a mistake when he actually stood up at a Court Hearing and pointed out to the Judge that I had been told that I was only getting the £2,500 additional funding because he did not understand the paperwork and he mixed up paragraphs from internal bank notes thinking that it was the Loan Agreement that I signed. He did not want to say much more after he was corrected by me. So good luck to anyone having to take on the RBS Group andrew thompson61
  • Score: 10

3:33pm Sat 11 Jan 14

andrew thompson61 says...

Sorry comment above is meant to read:- To get additional funds of £2,500 from the NatWest actually cost us £40k in fees and interest over 1 year. It would have been cheaper to go to a payday loan company.
Sorry comment above is meant to read:- To get additional funds of £2,500 from the NatWest actually cost us £40k in fees and interest over 1 year. It would have been cheaper to go to a payday loan company. andrew thompson61
  • Score: 9

7:16pm Sat 11 Jan 14

smilealoft44 says...

Weymouth needs Bank on Dave. I can only say if people are after mortgages go to Nationwide a building society no share holoders. I know these loans were for companys just dont trust any banks. I dealt with Barclays i should of dealt with Ronnie Biggs more trustworthy.
Weymouth needs Bank on Dave. I can only say if people are after mortgages go to Nationwide a building society no share holoders. I know these loans were for companys just dont trust any banks. I dealt with Barclays i should of dealt with Ronnie Biggs more trustworthy. smilealoft44
  • Score: 10

8:11pm Sat 11 Jan 14

andrew thompson61 says...

Actually I'm quite surprised that the OHEC have printed a negative story against the RBS group. When I asked them to print my story that NatWest had defrauded me so that I could warn others of the dangers of dealing with a Bank that is happy to employ fraudsters and reward them whilst claiming to be a friendly bank and claiming that it has the best Business Managers, the OHEC was not interested. I got the impression that they thought that they would lose out on advertising revenue from the bank.
Actually I'm quite surprised that the OHEC have printed a negative story against the RBS group. When I asked them to print my story that NatWest had defrauded me so that I could warn others of the dangers of dealing with a Bank that is happy to employ fraudsters and reward them whilst claiming to be a friendly bank and claiming that it has the best Business Managers, the OHEC was not interested. I got the impression that they thought that they would lose out on advertising revenue from the bank. andrew thompson61
  • Score: 10

12:00pm Sun 12 Jan 14

andrew thompson61 says...

I do not think that it is right that the RBS group or any other banking group that reposesses property should be allowed to refuse an offer of £360k and then for them to sell the same property on the open market for £250k.

I do not believe that the RBS group should be permitted to harass a landlords residents frightening and instructing them to look elsewhere for alternative accommodation because the Bank is seeking to reposess property.

I do not believe that the RBS group should be allowed to make out of Court private agreements with a landlords tennants to pay rent owing to a landlord directly to the RBS solicitor thus bypassing the landlord.

I do not believe that the RBS should be legally allowed to rely on voidable contracts that clearly have ommissions in them that fail to show important information.

I do not believe that the RBS should be allowed to obtain a repossession order in the absence of someone and then wait over 3 years before going for eviction.

I do not believe that there is any justice left in Great Britain.
the boys will look after the boys.
I do not think that it is right that the RBS group or any other banking group that reposesses property should be allowed to refuse an offer of £360k and then for them to sell the same property on the open market for £250k. I do not believe that the RBS group should be permitted to harass a landlords residents frightening and instructing them to look elsewhere for alternative accommodation because the Bank is seeking to reposess property. I do not believe that the RBS group should be allowed to make out of Court private agreements with a landlords tennants to pay rent owing to a landlord directly to the RBS solicitor thus bypassing the landlord. I do not believe that the RBS should be legally allowed to rely on voidable contracts that clearly have ommissions in them that fail to show important information. I do not believe that the RBS should be allowed to obtain a repossession order in the absence of someone and then wait over 3 years before going for eviction. I do not believe that there is any justice left in Great Britain. the boys will look after the boys. andrew thompson61
  • Score: 7

12:05pm Sun 12 Jan 14

andrew thompson61 says...

The RBS group should start combatting BANKING FRAUD by firstly getting rid of the Bankers committing internal fraud. They should start with Dave Humphreys.
The RBS group should start combatting BANKING FRAUD by firstly getting rid of the Bankers committing internal fraud. They should start with Dave Humphreys. andrew thompson61
  • Score: 7

3:50pm Mon 13 Jan 14

February1948 says...

It's not only commercial customers that RBS is setting their attack dogs on. Miss a couple of months mortgage repayments due to lack of funds caused by sickness (no sick pay if you're self-employed) and they threaten to make you homeless, even if you're working full time way past retirement age!
No thanks from the bankers to the taxpayer for bailing them out - and now they're starting to dish out bonuses again (I believe). Perhaps it is we who should be getting bonuses as a means of thanks for keeping them in the manner to which they have been accustomed for so long!
It's not only commercial customers that RBS is setting their attack dogs on. Miss a couple of months mortgage repayments due to lack of funds caused by sickness (no sick pay if you're self-employed) and they threaten to make you homeless, even if you're working full time way past retirement age! No thanks from the bankers to the taxpayer for bailing them out - and now they're starting to dish out bonuses again (I believe). Perhaps it is we who should be getting bonuses as a means of thanks for keeping them in the manner to which they have been accustomed for so long! February1948
  • Score: 4

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