MPs are pushing authorities to respond to allegations of potential fraud at banks, whereby it’s claimed home repossession documents weren’t actually signed by the authorised signatory.
Mel Stride MP, chair of the influential Treasury Committee, has written to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and National Crime Agency (NCA), pressing for an update on their response to the claims. The NCA is now assessing if there are grounds for a criminal investigation.
Baroness Nicky Morgan, former chair of the Treasury Committee, originally wrote to the authorities in July 2019, asking them to engage with the Bank Signature Forgery Campaign and to take action.
The campaign, supported by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Business Banking, alleges that some banks may have forged signatures on UK court documents used to repossess homes and recover debts.
Those leading the campaign are now trying to gather more evidence to pass on to MPs. The campaign group’s initial objective – getting the Treasury Committee to review the information it has gathered – has now been achieved, but it also wants an investigation by the NCA and the Serious Fraud Office.
According to the APPG, MPs have been receiving frequent and consistent representations from constituents with concerns over the alleged forgery of signatures. Credit Strategy is still seeking information from the campaign group, to establish how many individuals are coming forward with these allegations. Previously, the BBC reported that the NCA has received at least 19 boxes of evidence relating to 362 alleged incidents.
The Treasury Committee’s intervention
Letters to the authorities from Stride, sent in his capacity as Treasury Committee chair, specifically asked the following:
In the letter, Stride said that he is “aware that there will be sensitivities around some of this information, but would welcome as much information” as they could provide.
He added: “Given the time that has now passed I would welcome an update… I intend to place this letter and your response in the public domain.”
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, we are making a thorough assessment to determine whether there are grounds for a criminal or regulatory investigation.”
An FCA spokesperson said: "We have received the letter and will respond to the TSC.”
The Treasury Committee has confirmed to Credit Strategy that it is expecting a response from the authorities, and will publish the updates from both the FCA and NCA.