Small business owners, including farmers, across the UK can now avail of a free independent service to help them resolve disputes with banks.

The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) has been set up on a voluntary basis following a review commissioned by UK Finance in 2018. The service is paid for by seven banks, including Danske Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Santander and Ulster Bank.

As well as dealing with new disputes,BBRS will also consider historic cases dating back to 1 December 2001. To be eligible for the historic scheme businesses must have a turnover of up to £6.5m and total assets up to £5m.

Strangford MP Jim Shannon, who is a member of an all-party parliamentary group for fair business banking, told the Irish Farmers Journal that he is personally aware of three Danske Bank cases that have already been registered with BBRS. One of those relates to a local dairy farmer who had taken out a fixed term loan.

Shannon expects other cases to be brought forward, and has received assurances from Bank of Ireland UK that it will be joining the scheme later this year. However, AIB in NI has to date, declined to be involved.

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