Royal Bank of Scotland has been accused of pursuing “unrealistic” business lending targets that risk incentivising reckless lending.
The taxpayer-owned bank, which is under intense political pressure to boost support to the economy, has set strict targets for small and medium-sized enterprise lending to its around 800 lending managers, who are each expected to lend close to £2m a year.
Yet Unite says RBS has admitted to the union that only around half are hitting this target, with the rest put into performance management, raising the possibility of redundancy.
This has prompted concerns among staff that the bank is using the regime to cut staff numbers without having to pay voluntary redundancy costs.
In anonymous comments collected by Unite from RBS’s relationship managers, the name given to staff responsible for lending to small companies, staff complained of coming under “almost intolerable” pressure to ramp up lending. The comments were published in a circular sent to Unite members at the bank and were seen by the Sunday Telegraph. It also alleges sickness levels relating to stress at work had increased, while lending managers often had to put in 50-plus hour weeks “just to tread water”.