The CMA has written to Danske Bank regarding the Bank’s second breach of the SME Banking Undertakings 2002. Relationship Managers at Danske Bank required up to 205 SMEs to open a business current account (BCA) to be able to progress their application for a loan under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme; Danske Bank previously undertook not to carry out this process known as ‘bundling’.
Danske Bank has responded by publishing an Action Plan, setting out how it has, and will continue to, address the breach. Included in this is the fact that Danske Bank has offered affected customers refunds of BCA charges and the option to switch to a fee-free loan servicing account. It is also taking steps to ensure future compliance, such as implementing an enhanced staff training programme and appointing an independent body to conduct compliance audits.
This is Danske Bank’s second breach of the SME Undertakings; the CMA previously wrote to it on 30 March 2021 and now notes that the Bank’s failure in investigating the first breach is at least part of the cause of the second breach.
In light of the challenges of responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and Danske Bank’s approach to tackling the breaches, the CMA states in its letter that it does not consider it appropriate to take formal enforcement action at this time, but will monitor the Bank’s progress on complying with the Action Plan.