ROYAL Bank of Scotland (RBS) is pressing ahead with the next stage of Sir Andrew Large’s independent review by asking small businesses to vent their spleen about its lending practices.
The Edinburgh-based lender and its National Westminster (NatWest) bank subsidiary have set up a website on which small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can leave feedback.
Ian Cowie, chief executive of business and commercial banking, said: “There are many opinions on what banks could do to lend more but the most important are those from businesses themselves – this is their chance to have their say.”
Cowie added: “We’re challenging ourselves to do the best possible job supporting SME growth, so we need to hear from businesses to make sure we’re tackling the things that will make a difference for them.”
Large and management consultancy Oliver Wyman were put in charge of RBS’s small business lending review last month.
Stuart Mackinnon, a spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland, said: “RBS’s approach to small business lending is especially important in Scotland because of their significant share of the business banking market.
“In the medium term, we would like to see more lenders and investors fighting for the opportunity to service the small business community, both in Scotland and across the rest of the UK. However, RBS will still be a significant player in business banking for the foreseeable future.
“The FSB would encourage our members that bank with RBS, as well as the wider small business community, to contribute to this review.”
In June, the Office of Fair Trading launched an investigation into the UK-wide SME banking market as a whole, with an update on its probe due to be given next month.