Wyelands Bank Future In Doubt

Will Wyelands Bank manage to weather the storm?

June 30, 2021

Wyelands Bank Future In Doubt

Wyelands Bank’s future appears to be in jeopardy after owner Sanjeev Gupta refused the opportunity to inject more money into the business.

Stephen Rose, the CEO of the bank who joined as deputy chief executive in 2019,  spoke with MPs on the business, energy and industrial strategy committee this week. He said that the bank was in discussions with potential buyers of some of the bank’s assets, including employee contracts.

However, he added that he didn’t think that the bank itself had a future without the investment of metals magnate Gupta. Rose said that there had been “deficiencies” in how the bank’s prior management team has assessed how different borrowers were connected to each other.

Wyelands Bank History

Wyelands Bank was first formed in 1980 and is based in London. At its peak, the bank had over £700 million in deposits from British customers. That money was primarily lent to companies with links to GFG Alliance, a collection of family-owned businesses tied to Gupta. The largest backer of those companies was Greensill Capital, which has since collapsed.

Because borrowers were having problems, Wyelands began to wind down its balance sheet in the first half of 2020. Earlier this year the Bank of England ordered the bank to repay all savers, making sure all cash was returned before the bank’s future became too unstable.

Rose has said that the bank has already started to repay savers when their accounts mature, but the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority has called for this to be accelerated as the collapse of Greensill could result in funding problems.

Regarding the relaunch of the bank, Rose said that Gupta had higher priorities, making the point that thousands of jobs were at risk across the owner’s steel businesses.

Troubled Times and Criminal Investigation

Up until last year, Wyelands’ accounts were audited by PwC. However, the firm resigned from its role, citing a conflict of interest. Rose has clarified that the reason PwC resigned was that they were looking at other businesses within the GFG Alliance.

On Monday this week, the UK accounting regulator said that it was looking into PwC’s 2019 Wyelands audits. When Mazars took over in 2020, they uncovered a substantially higher assessment of the bank’s level of party transactions that could be linked together.

At the same time as the investigation into the 2019 audits, the bank is also being looked at by the National Crime Agency and Serious Fraud Office. While Rose was unwilling to comment on these investigations, he did say that he had not heard from the NCA at this stage.

Any customers who have savings with Wyelands Bank may wish to contact the bank to learn when they are due to receive their money back. It looks as though it is only a matter of time before the bank is closed as a trading entity.

Ian Lewis
Ian Lewis
Ian is an experienced writer with 15 years’ experience working in journalism and marketing. He’s worked in-house in financial institutions as well as writing freelance pieces for a variety of banking and financial trading websites.

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Mentioned Banks

About Wyelands Bank Wyelands bank is a bank for small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. It began life in 2016 when it was acquired by entrepreneur Sanjeev Gupta through a family...
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