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Falmouth business gains support in war against 'bully banks'

By West Briton  |  Posted: March 12, 2014

Andrew George, MP, and Seasalt's Leigh Chadwick at the Bully-Banks campaign day.

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A LOCAL business, said to be appalled by its treatment from a former bank, has gained the support of a Cornish MP.

Seasalt Ltd's Leigh Chadwick attended the Bully-Banks campaign day in Westminster, where he met with Andrew George, MP, who pledged to do all he could to help.

The campaign day was organised to show support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) damaged by the misconduct of high street banks.

Mr Chadwick said in 2008, Falmouth-based Seasalt discovered an interest rate swap, previously recommended by its bank to protect against rising interest rates, was not clearly detailed at the time.

Mr Chadwick, whose family own Seasalt, said: "When advised to take out the interest rate swap, we weren't made aware that it would cost a significant amount to terminate the agreement.

"We had been with the bank for 17 years and thought it was acting in our best interests, but in the end we found the interest rate swap restrained our growth and although we managed to stay afloat, it prevented us from creating lots of new jobs.

"The banks clearly just saw this as a profit opportunity for themselves."

Mr George said at the campaign day: "Seasalt was lucky and survived these exploitative practices, but others have fought hard but have sadly had to throw in the towel with the consequence of debts, bankruptcy, loss of jobs and business from our local communities."

Mr George has written to the Chancellor demanding banks deliver full and immediate redress to many of the businesses damaged by misconduct.

He said: "The mistreatment of Seasalt by its previous bank has been disgraceful but is a classic case of the kind of exploitative practices I have witnessed.

"Regrettably, many other local businesses have been mis-sold inappropriate products as the practice was widespread across all high street banks.

"I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that justice is served and that Seasalt and other local businesses receive full redress."

Bully-Banks is a campaign group of more than 1,700 small businesses which have been affected by underhand tactics.

Mr Chadwick said: "Out of 6,000 cases of interest rate swaps, 96 per cent have proven to be mis-sold.

"I strongly urge any businesses that have it to contact Bully-Banks immediately."

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