The big banks sent hundreds of thousands of letters from fake debt collection firms to ‘intimidate’ customers. HSBC, Barclays, Santander and RBS/NatWest admit using the trick on families deep in the red. The letters misleadingly suggest that law firms and outside debt collectors are being called in.
The admissions, which follow a campaign by the Daily Mail to highlight the scandal, came in a series of letters released last night by MPs. In one of them, the chief executive of Barclays confessed the bank had used a number of ‘debt collection brands’. Appearing to acknowledge intimidation, Antony Jenkins said the letters were meant to indicate to customers ‘an escalation in the seriousness of the situation’. RBS chief Ross McEwan said the bogus letters ‘reflected what had become a common industry practice in a sector that had come to put its own interests above those of its customers’.