Hundreds of claimants join Clydesdale action
Clydesdale Bank owner Virgin Money denies the claims
Hundreds more claims have been added to a long-running legal action by campaigners who allege that business customers of Clydesdale Bank unnecessarily paid millions of pounds in fees and interest.
RGL Management (RGL) said 436 claims on behalf of more than 250 SME customers have been filed against Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank – now part of Virgin Money – and their former owner National Australia Bank.
The claims arise out of fixed interest rate loans or “tailored business loans” (TBLs) sold to business customers between 2001 and 2012. Virgin Money has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has said it is “confident of defending our position.”
The claim form, filed in the Chancery Division of the High Court, builds on the previous claims issued in May 2019 and October 2020 taking total number of claims in the group action to 1,345 representing 823 SMEs.
A copy of the claim form has been sent to the defendants’ solicitors, DLA Piper and Herbert Smith Freehills.
The allegations against Glasgow-based Clydesdale and NAB relate to the banks’ conduct in respect of fixed interest rate TBLs and give rise to claims in deceit, misrepresentation, negligent misstatement, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
More specifically, the claims allege that the banks falsely and unlawfully demanded break costs from borrowers who sought to terminate fixed rate business loans early, as well as that the banks deliberately and systemically inflated the fixed interest rate payable without first informing customers.
As a result, all fixed interest rate TBL borrowers allegedly have unknowingly and unnecessarily paid hundreds of millions of pounds of additional costs and interest, all of which was directed at and went to increase the banks’ profits.
A second case management conference (CMC), presided over by Mr Justice Zacaroli, has been scheduled for next month. In the meantime, RGL continues to process and verify additional claims from across England, Scotland and Wales and intends to issue further proceedings in the coming months.
While it is not yet possible to quantify the exact value of each claim, today the case against Clydesdale and NAB has increased by over 30%, and losses from the combined TBL related claims are expected to amount to hundreds of millions of pounds.
Around 6,500 customers were sold TBLs. With the legal process now fully in train, the amount of time left to join the group action will be limited.
RGL has instructed solicitors, Fladgate, led by partner, Garbhan Shanks, with specialist banking counsel, Andrew Onslow QC, Lisa Lacob and Liisa Lahti. In Scotland, RGL has instructed Cat MacLean, partner and head of dispute resolution of MBM Commercial.
The case is funded by Bench Walk Advisers. After the Event (ATE) insurance is also in place, to protect against the adverse costs risk to claimants.
Any business that had a Clydesdale or Yorkshire Bank fixed rate commercial loan or “TBL” can register to join the RGL group action. More information on how to do so can be found at www.RGLmanagement.com.
James Hayward, CEO, RGL Management, said: “With this significant new wave of claims, the largest to date, we remain supremely confident in the strength of our case.
“There is irrefutable evidence which proves the bank’s unlawful treatment of its fixed rate loan customers and we are well on the way to securing them the compensation they deserve, which is in the hundreds of millions of pounds.
“There remain thousands of former Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank business loan customers who are yet to claim. With another High Court hearing scheduled next month, we are making one last push in our book building efforts to reach anybody who is yet to join.
“We urge anybody who thinks their business might have been sold a fixed interest rate Tailored Business Loan by either bank to get in touch immediately.”