Tyrie concerned by misleading 'solicitor' letters

Earlier this month The Guardian revealed that some banks were routinely sending threatening legal letters purporting to be from independent firms of solicitors but which were actually originating from inside the banks themselves.

Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest have been using Green & Co Solicitors in Telford; Lloyds Bank uses SCM Solicitors in Hove and, until January this year, HSBC used DG Solicitors in Birmingham.

But whilst the practice is legal because the letters are signed by a lawyer who is individually regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority Tyrie said he wants to know the extent of its usage.

He said: ““We need to know the extent of this practice. Banks have repeatedly assured Parliament that they are raising standards and now have robust procedures in place to bring consumer detriment to an end.

“It would be extremely concerning if consumers had been routinely misled.”

Following the allegations the SRA said it would issue guidance on the practice and RBS said it would stop sending letters that could cause confuse ion to customers.