Tuesday 9 July 2019 1:07 pm

Calls for bank forgery claims to be investigated by authorities

The chair of an influential committee of MPs has demanded that allegations of banks forging signatures should be investigated.

Nicky Morgan, who chairs the Treasury Select Committee, has called on the City’s watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the National Crime Agency (NCA) to probe claims that home repossessions and other such documents have not been signed off properly by banks.

The potential criminal activity by lenders was first raised by the Bank Signature Forgery Campaign, which aims “to expose alleged industrial-scale forgery of banks signatures on banks court documents in cases against customers”.

Morgan has written to the bosses of the NCA and FCA to ask that they engage with the Bank Signature Forgery Campaign, if they have not already done so, to review their evidence and investigate “as appropriate”.

Last month Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA, was asked about the issue during an evidence session by MP Steve Baker, who said: “Whether or not the repossession is justified, it does seem that is therefore a fraudulent transaction. Are you aware that this phenomenon may be happening? If so, what are you doing?”

Bailey responded: “I am aware of it. Yes, it does get talked about. If you would like to bring the evidence to us, we will look at it.”

In February the all-party parliamentary group for banking threw its weight behind the Bank Signature Forgery Campaign, which it said would provide a “vital method of gathering evidence of possible signature forgeries by UK banks in court documents”.

Anthony Stansfeld, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley Police who was influential in securing the successful criminal prosecutions of the perpetrators of HBOS Reading fraud, has also announced his support for the campaign.