The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has denied that its actions forced small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) into insolvency.
In a major report uncovered by the BBC, it has been suggested that RBS sought to make money from troubled businesses during the 2007/8 financial crash by purchasing assets cheaply and selling them on for a profit.
Codenamed operation “dash for cash”, it was also revealed that staff were rewarded for identifying struggling businesses which could be targeted by the RBS Global Restructuring Team (GRG) and stripped of their assets.
The documents show that the operation was ramped up during the 2007/8 financial crisis, targeting almost 12,000 struggling companies.
However, the majority taxpayer-owned lender has strongly denied that the scheme forced any SMEs into insolvency.
Jon Pain, RBS chief conduct and regulatory affairs officer said: “We have seen nothing to support the allegations that the bank artificially distressed otherwise viable SME businesses or deliberately caused them to fail.
“In the aftermath of the financial crisis we did not always meet our own high standards and we let some of our SME customers down.
“Since that time, RBS has become a different bank and significant structural and cultural changes have been put in place, including how we deal with customers in financial distress.”