Time running out for charities to tackle unresolved banking disputes

Time running out for charities to tackle unresolved banking disputes

Small to medium sized charities have just six months left to register any unresolved historical banking complaints they have.

The scheme to settle disputes being run by the independent Business Banking Resolution Service closes on 14 February next year.

Those service has been established to resolve disputes between SMEs, including charities, and banks.

Eligible charities going through the service are assigned a resolution officer to offer practical support.

If a complaint is upheld the service can make both financial and non-financial award.

Historical complaints relate to the period 1 December 2001 and the end of March 2019 and is open to organisations with a turnover up to £10m a year and total assets of up to £7.5m that are not eligible to take their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

It also runs a contemporary scheme for more up to date complaints from 1 April 2019 onwards.

Charities with historical disputes are urged to use the service’s online tool.

“UK charities and third sector organisations are essential to our communities, and yet many are struggling as the rising cost of operating (inflation in materials, wages, energy, fuel, and interest rate rises) threatens their survival,” said Liz Barclay, who is Small Business Commissioner, an independent role set up by the government to tackle late and unfavourable payment practices.

“At no point has it ever been more important for organisations to proactively challenge financial issues, whether that’s related to late payments or tackling banking disputes.

“I am pleading with all small and medium sized organisations, including charities, trusts and third sector enterprises, to grasp this opportunity to have their banking complaints, many of which are long-standing, resolved through the BBRS’s free and impartial service.

“If you think your current organisation or a previous one, could benefit contact the BBRS and see if they can help." 

In June the Charity Finance Group (CFG) raised concerns around charities’ lack of access to banking services. Small charities are being particularly impacted by branch closures and poor access to online support.

Cuts are forcing some into poor practice such as trustees using personal accounts to handle charity money, warned the CFG.

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