Small firms missing out on £46m swaps compensation from banks

Tim Wallace
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BRITAIN’S biggest banks have contacted every firm that might have been mis-sold interest rate swaps, the City watchdog said yesterday as the final 500 letters were sent out this month.

So far, more than £1bn has been paid out in compensation.

The year-long task took one month longer than planned.

But now the process of paying compensation has been delayed by the small firms themselves failing to reply to their lenders.

More than 15,000 firms’ cases had been addressed, with 13,000 offered direct cash compensation, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said – meaning the average compensation payment came to almost £77,000.

In 2,000 cases, it was found the sale of interest rate hedging products was within the rules and was not a case of mis-selling, or that the firm suffered no financial loss from the sale.

However, 600 firms have not replied to the letters from their banks and so may be missing out on compensation. If their payments are in line with the average, these companies could be losing out on more than £46m between them.

RBS was responsible for the biggest chunk of the mis-selling, and had so far given compensation to 6,524 small businesses.

But it is HSBC’s customers who have been the slowest to respond, with the bank still waiting to hear back from 374 firms.

Next is Barclays, where 73 firms still need to opt in.