RBS Building London UK
A review has found no evidence to support claims that RBS attempted to defraud customers. Reuters

RBS said a review it commissioned has cleared the bank of any allegations that it tried to defraud some of its customers.

The bank commissioned the review last November in reponse to claims by Lawrence Tomlinson, adviser to business secretary Vince Cable, that it pushed businesses into default after moving them into its Global Restructuring Group which charged higher fees and margin.

The bank said the review, carried out by law firm Clifford Chance, found that after interviewing 138 customers and reviewing 130 files, there "was no evidence to support this damaging and serious allegation".

Ross McEwan, RBS chief executive, said: "I welcome the Clifford Chance findings which show no evidence of the serious and damaging allegation that we had set out to deliberately defraud our business customers.

"This allegation had a profound effect on the bank and on the work of a team that successfully turns round the vast majority of businesses that it works with. We could not let this allegation hang over us.

"That's why we acted quickly to appoint Clifford Chance to get to the truth of this claim. We are determined to earn back the trust of our customers."

The report did state though that some customers felt the bank's fees "lacked clarity", and some customers made complaints about some of the RBS staff's conduct, which RBS claims it is "thoroughly investigating".

RBS is also taking measures to attempt to rebuild trust with its customers. One of the key steps that it will be removing the "double handover" practice, where a customer would get a new advisor when they first need support and then a different relationship manager on entering the restructuring unit.

RBS isn't quite out of the woods just yet though. It still has to await the findings from industry watchdog FCA's inquiry which is investigating how the bank deals with distressed businesses.