Thursday 15 October 2020 4:02 pm

Treasury Committee demands update on bank signature forgery allegations

An influential committee of MPs have demanded an update from the City watchdog and National Crime Agency on their investigation into allegations of widespread signature forgery at British banks. 

The Treasury Select Committee first asked the Financial Conduct Authority and NCA to investigate allegations that banks used forged signatures on an industrial scale, leading to some customers having their homes repossessed, over a year ago. 

The Bank Signature Forgery Campaign says it had submitted over 360 crime reports to the NCA, supported by documentary evidence and testimony from handwriting experts. 

The reports detail allegations against some of the biggest banks in the UK, including Lloyds and RBS – now Natwest. All banks deny any wrongdoing.  

Mel Stride, chair of the Treasury Committee, wrote to the heads of the FCA and NCA to request an update on the organisations’ engagement with the campaign and any findings so far.  

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Stride asked both agencies to “engage with the Bank Signature Forgery Campaign” and investigate or take action “as appropriate”. 

He also requested details of any offences the agencies believe may have been committed, as well as any legal arguments that are being considered. 

The letter comes after former TSC chair Nicky Morgan wrote to the FCA and NCA in July last year, asking them to engage with campaigners and investigate the evidence they presented. 

A spokesperson for the FCA said: “We have received the letter and will respond to the TSC”.

An NCA spokesperson said: “We are continuing to assess the material, including additional information supplied in September.

“Together with partners in the FCA and SFO [Serious Fraud Office], we are making a thorough assessment to determine whether there are grounds for a criminal or regulatory investigation,” they added.