Jim Armitage: Lloyds must tread more carefully to avoid Reading rage

Evening Standard, 22.03.17


Hell hath no fury like a customer scorned. Just ask Lloyds.


Having treated victims of the Reading HBOS sex-for-bankruptcies scandal with apparent disdain for a decade, it is trying to make amends.


On Monday, heeding victims’ concerns it would hire one of the arguably conflicted Big Four accountants or Magic Circle law firms to look into compensation, Lloyds recruited a veteran reviewer of banking disputes — Professor Russel Griggs.


But a growing number of customers, whose cases were heard in the HBOS trial, say he’s wholly inappropriate.


They point to a previous independent review where they say the Prof was naive on the scandal of how banks put troubled businesses into their special measures units such as RBS’s Global Restructuring Group.


It’s in nobody’s interests to repeat the fiasco of the child sex abuse inquiry, where the thing took years to start because of objections to the proposed chairmen.


But Lloyds should have sought HBOS victims’ views on the appointment before announcing it.


They now scent a stitch up, where the reviewer rubberstamps what the bank wants to hear. Lloyds faces another noisy backlash.


Kid gloves are needed for those so badly bruised and beaten.


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