Many new businesses have contacted the company taking RBS to court over its defunct previous treatment of struggling business customers, following a series of damaging leaked documents.
Companies have contacted RGL Management, which is working on behalf of SMEs that claim the Global Restructuring Group (GRG) of RBS pushed them into administration.
The GRG was set up to find solutions for RBS’s business customers which were in distress.
Whistle-blowers and RGL shared documents to the BBC and BuzzFeed News to support the claims that SMEs were mistreated by the GRG 2007 and 2012.
The BBC claimed the documents show RBS bought up assets from its struggling business customers in a project known as “Dash for Cash”.
RGL also alleged the bank targeted asset-rich SMEs and funnelled them into GRG on the basis of an “often invented” pretext.
It also alleged that the companies were hit with heavy fees and placed into a manufactured insolvency process before RBS obtained their key assets at undervalued rates.
The BBC claimed the documents show that bank staff were rewarded with higher bonuses based on finding firms which could be put into the GRG division and the “dash for cash” scheme.
“Dash for cash” was a phrase used in internal documents at the GRG, which were leaked to the BBC.
Jon Pain, chief conduct and regulatory affairs officer at RBS, said: “In the aftermath of the financial crisis we did not always meet our own high standards and we let some of our SME customers down.”
Pain said in 2008 the numbers of SMEs falling into financial distress and moving into GRG increased by over 400 percent.
James Hayward, chief executive of RGL, said: “The allegations that will unfold in this litigation will be disturbing for the bank and will continue to cast a shadow over its attempts at reconciliation with its customer base.”
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also been accused by the SMEs for sitting on a report it commissioned to review the treatment of its customers in the banks GRG division.
Hayward added: “It seems that the FCA has been playing a cruel game with the lives of desperate people who are putting off taking legal action until they see if there might be any worthwhile compensation scheme attached to or recommended by the report.”
The SMEs will launch action against RBS in early 2017 and RGL expects thousands of businesses will claim billions of pounds.
RGL said: “The headline claim in the litigation will be that RBS, through GRG, systematically sought to defraud its customers for its own commercial purposes.”