ROYAL Bank of Scotland (RBS) has been accused to trying to wriggle out of its responsibilities to business customers mistreated by the bank’s controversial global restructuring group (GRG).

Seneca Banking Consultants, which has already recovered £2.9 million for customers who were referred to the now defunct restructuring unit, said it had identified problems in a review of the bank’s compensation scheme.

Some firms referred to the GRG said they were pushed into bankruptcy and stripped of their assets, and regulator the Financial Conduct Authority found its activities had resulted in material financial distress for small business customers. Seneca’s review said the outcomes indicated “frequent references to conduct or fees having been part of standard practice and therefore not having been unfair”, which effectively undermined the fact that many of the unit’s practices “should not have been carried out at all, let alone become the standard”.

The report said: “There appears to be a reluctance to admit certain complaint points in which it is alleged the Bank overstepped its remit.

“Points such as complainants having been placed under undue pressure to take a particular step, forced to appoint third parties or sell assets are generally dismissed.”

It said RBS had provided “inconsistent goodwill payments” for elements of conduct which had not resulted in a direct loss; “Some complainants may receive an apology for an inconvenience while others may be offered redress, typically in the region of £5000, despite the same issues having been involved across claims.”

It added that some dissolved companies were being made offers for reimbursement of the costs of restoration whereas others were not.

Ian Kay, a consultant with Seneca, told The National: “It certainly appears that RBS is trying to wriggle out of its responsibilities to those companies who suffered through GRG by passing off the unit’s practices as standard procedure.

“The bank has also avoided for the most part admitting that transfers to GRG were wrong.

“It is being portrayed that every business in GRG had been transferred on legitimate grounds.

“It is unfortunate that despite the considerable scrutiny the bank has been placed under over the past few years, and the claims of ‘putting things right’, RBS is still providing a lack of transparency and has employed inconsistent approaches which only seek to place customers on uneven footing.”

RBS would not comment on Seneca’s review, but a weekly progress report showed that, as at November 30, it had received 2523 complaints, of which all allegations were upheld in 33 cases and some upheld in 535.