A FAMILY lost their business, more than £7million and 40 jobs due to their bank but have been offered just £27,000 compensation.
The case of the Parsons family, from Stockwood near Inkberrow, was highlighted in Parliament by Redditch MP Karen Lumley as an example of how the Financial Conduct Authority’s review into the mis-selling of interest rate swaps by banks had not helped all those affected.
Siblings Sebastian, Tabitha and Sophie started Elysia in 1994, investing and operating businesses which were ethically-driven including a biodynamic farm and a fair trade clothing company. They were also the sole UK distributor of Dr Hauschka skin care for 19 years until 12 months ago.
After being persuaded by HSBC to swap their interest rates, they were put into a loan management unit and had to take property sales to repay the loan. It forced interest rates up, lost them suppliers, saw stock running low due to ‘cash starvation’ and it is estimated by an accountant they lost out on more than £7million.
Sebastian, who was forced to start a new company this year, told the Standard: “We lost our business and my sister has been ill for a year now – HSBC’s actions have cost us dear and it was emotional and upsetting to listen to the debate with MP after MP telling the same story.
“The banks have done wrong and are being allowed to ‘put right’ the wrong themselves – in secret and unchecked. The banks are now releasing billions of pounds from their compensation reserves proving that they believe they have got away with it.
“There are thousands of tiny SMEs caught up in this and compared to the banks that have turned on us, we don’t stand a chance. It is only with the support of our MPs that we have any hope or chance of making it through.”
Mrs Lumley spoke out on behalf of the Parsons in a House of Commons debate, saying the Financial Conduct Authority promised to put customers back in the position they should have been had failings not occurred but this had not happened in their case.
She added: “The Parsons are angry and frightened for the future of their family, as the business they set up to benefit the community is being attacked by bankers.
“It has been said many times that small business owners are the backbone of this country. We should not allow them to be treated this way. People have really suffered and are still suffering.”
A HSBC spokesman said they did not discuss individual cases or confirm whether an individual was or had been a customer.
He added they had introduced a two-stage payment process which gave an initial payment for those affected with any linked claim for consequential loss dealt with separately.