Myerson Solicitors LLP are currently advising businesses on a variety of claims against banks for mis-selling interest rate swap loans and other financial products.
One particularly common complaint involves the Royal Bank of Scotland and its divisions, the Global Restructuring Group and West Register.
There has been a marked increase in enquiries from RBS business customers who claim to have suffered significant losses as a result of the bank putting them under pressure to enter “property participation schemes” designed to appropriate assets from distressed businesses, often at knockdown prices. Customers allege that following the 2007 credit crunch the banks undertook wholesale reviews of loans-to-value ratios on lending in light of the decline of the commercial property market.
Often clients were put into “special measures” by the banks which, in some cases, led to the bank acquiring the customer’s properties, or requiring them to sell property at an undervalue. Often significant pressure was applied to customers, which Myerson advise could amount to “economic duress” which may give these customers a legal right to recover the significant losses the bank’s actions have caused.
In some cases the bank has acted very aggressively to commence possession proceedings in the High Court, effectively foreclosing on property. In turn directors were pressured into signing personal guarantees which are also being enforced by the bank. Customers also allege that the requirement for them to enter into a property participation scheme has increased their indebtedness. Myerson are currently dealing with cases where borrowing on normal terms rose by as much as 40% following the entering into of a scheme. One case involved a very substantial “balloon” payment to the bank after a property was sold, in addition to payment of extra interest and more bank charges.
Jonathan Hassall from Myerson’s Commercial Litigation department comments “we represent clients who have lost family businesses, livelihoods and properties. Some of the court claims that clients may wish to bring are cutting edge as far as the current state of the law is concerned.
The indications are that there are a large number of bank customers out there who were placed in the hands of Global Restructuring Group and West Register and I am seeing many complaints where commercial bank customers felt they had no choice but to co-operate in entering into property participation schemes, and where they say that the headline effects of entering in to scheme was not explained“.
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