The head of the Financial Conduct Authority has said it is not in the public interest to publish the full report into the treatment of customers in the RBS Global Restructuring Group.
The GRG was intended to help struggling small and medium-sized businesses and more than 12,000 of them came under its authority between 2007 and 2012.
But there have been allegations that it made things worse for businesses so it could seize assets or benefit the bank, something RBS denies.
After the report was leaked to the BBC in August, Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Committee, wrote to FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey calling for him to hand over the report’s findings.
Mr Bailey’s reply, published this morning, said: “I recognise the public interest in the outcome of the GRG review but I do not believe it is best served by us publishing the full report.”
He said that such reports are done “on the basis that there is no intention to publish” as this “greatly facilitates the efficiency of the process”.
“However, I recognise that the public interest justifies greater disclosure of material in the report relevant to the complaints of former customers.
“It is, therefore, our intention to publish a detailed summary of the report…”
The details of the report already leaked showed that 92% of “viable” firms seen by the GRG experienced “inappropriate action”, such as interest charges being raised or unnecessary fees imposed.
Only on in 10 business made it back to the main bank, the report said.
Commenting on Mr Bailey’s letter, Mrs Morgan said she recognised that such reports would “in normal circumstances remain confidential” but that the report was “now in the hands of an unknown number of third parties”.
She added: “If closure is ever to be brought to this long-running issue, Parliament and the public need the account ordered by the regulator. And so we consider that the public interest in publication in this specific case is overwhelming.”
Mr Bailey said in his letter that the report summary is “largely ready for publication once we have reached a conclusion on the need for a formal investigation”.
The publication of the letter comes just days after business owners whose companies were destroyed after being placed into the restructuring division called for Mr Bailey to step down.
John Bamford, a spokesman for the RBS-GRG Business Action Group, said Mr Bailey’s position as chief executive was “surely now untenable and he must resign”.