A FORMER senior manager at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has said the bank “systematically” forged documents to cover up its own misconduct – supporting ex-business clients who had made similar allegations.
Mark Wright started working for NatWest Bank in 1988, before it was taken over by RBS in 2000, and was there until he took redundancy in 2013.
In a revealing interview with BBC Radio 4’s the World Tonight programme, Wright told how in 2005, he accused two former RBS colleagues from its Compliance Unit – the bank’s “police” – of concocting bogus complaints from five of his customers. The two accused compliance staff subsequently left RBS.
Loading article content
RBS said it categorically denied document manipulation or forgery.
“I had five individual customers who all came forward to me stating that the wording and conversations with this member of staff from group compliance were not their words, so effectively the telephone transcripts didn’t reflect what the customer was saying,” said Wright.
“I told my line manager this because he had been affected by the negative rating that group compliance had given me over these fictitious five customer complaints and falsifying the customer care calls, so I decided to contact them all and the behaviour was the same with all five.”
He later found out from colleagues that such behaviour was not uncommon in the unit.
“I discovered through a member of staff from group compliance that it would be common practice that they would falsify files if they needed to create a certain picture.”
He said he was suspicious of wrongdoing at the bank from 2005 to 2012 and wanted a full external investigation because of the serious nature of his allegations.
However, he said RBS failed to properly investigate the complaints or give him the status of whistle-blower. Wright said that, as a senior manager, he had a duty to report the matter, but he claims his standing within RBS suffered as a result. His employment status was changed to “undesirable” from a previous “excellent” classification and his bonuses were stopped. He took redundancy in 2013 after being diagnosed with long-term mental health issues.
An RBS spokesperson said: “RBS takes any allegations of misconduct very seriously. We are aware of these specific allegations, which have been investigated thoroughly in the past by the bank and, in many instances, externally through bodies such as the Information Commissioner and the courts. We have found no evidence to support these customers’ allegations and categorically deny manipulating or falsifying customer records to suit our purposes.”
At least 300 companies are planning to sue RBS over the actions of its Global Restructuring Group following the financial crisis.
RGL Management is representing many of them, and chief executive James Hayward said their grounds were alleged malfeasance, including document tampering.
“In most cases the end result of what the bank did to their people was the total destruction of their businesses and people’s lives,” he said.
“These people were intentionally financially and emotionally destroyed. Their only mistake was to trust the bank that they thought was there to help them succeed.”
And he said he had seen evidence of document manipulation by the bank: “If anybody manipulates documents or falsifies documents or forges documents it can only be for two reasons, and that’s to perpetuate a fraud or to cover up a fraud. There’s no other reason for doing it. We have come across it.”