LONDON (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group said on Friday it has made compensation offers to only seven of 67 customers impacted by one of Britain’s biggest banking frauds, the latest delay in a decade-long struggle by business owners for redress.
Britain’s biggest mortgage lender will miss a self-imposed end-of-June deadline for making payments to most victims of the fraud and it said it is “disappointed” that the process is taking so long.
Lloyds announced the deadline for its 100 million- pound compensation scheme in April after six men were jailed in February for a scam that involved siphoning money from struggling businesses.
Two former bankers with Lloyds’ unit HBOS in the town of Reading were among those jailed for their involvement in the scam, which affected 67 people including Noel Edmonds, a TV presenter and former disc jockey.
Lloyds said on Friday it was close to making offers to eight more clients.
“We are disappointed that getting to offers is taking longer than we had hoped, but we are committed to doing everything we can to support those affected as we continue with the review,” said Adrian White, Lloyds’ chief operating officer for commercial Banking.
Victims of the fraud have accused the bank of dragging out the compensation process and underestimating the final amount it will have to pay.
The jailed bankers pushed struggling business owners to employ a costly turnaround consultancy as a condition for receiving loans and, in some cases, hand over ownership.
One of the bankers received designer watches, exotic holidays and sex with prostitutes from the consultancy in return for referring clients to the firm, evidence presented in the trial showed.
Lloyds said part of the reason for the delay in making compensation offers was it is still waiting for information from victims that would allow it to decide on payouts.
The bank said on Friday it is making a one-off payment of 35,000 pounds to all customers impacted by the fraud to help cover expenses.
Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by William Schomberg