Agnew’s anger was particularly directed at Starling Bank, which he accused of behaving “against the interests of government and taxpayers” due to what he saw as its failures in anti-fraud responsibilities on the £47bn bounce-back loan scheme.
The program saw the government provide 1.6 million taxpayer-backed loans. Borrowers had to self-certify their 2019 turnover, and a mass of fraudulent activity has since been uncovered.
He said Starling was “one of the worst when it came to validating company turnover or submitting suspicious activity reports” at an anti-fraud event.
He continued: “Being new to the block, most of their applicants were not already clients and therefore any reasonable institution would have been doubly careful about pouring the money out the door. But the opposite happened. »
Agnew further alleged that the bank used the scheme to bolster its “balance sheet by a factor of 50 in just under a year, with no risk to itself and 100% to the taxpayer”.
The bank has contacted the organizers asking them not to ‘distribute a film of Lord Agnew’s comments as they are factually incorrect and misrepresent us’, according to The temperature.
Anne Boden, founder and chief executive of Starling, said she was “shocked” by the comments and asked Agnew to retract her claims, the publication reported.
Agnew reportedly replied “I have no intention of retracting my comments until I can see data that reassures me”, and he submitted questions about the lender’s performance during the program.
A Starling spokeswoman said The temperature“We are meeting with him shortly to discuss his observations. We hope that once we meet with him, he will understand that the comments he made about us are factually incorrect and will withdraw his remarks.
Credit strategy contacted Starling for comment.