Director who deemed clients evil is fined and banned

The director of a bridging lender who branded some of its customers evil has been fined and banned by the Financial Services Authority.

Glasgow-based Bridging Loans was fined £42,000 and its director Joseph Cummings £70,000 for serious failures relating to lending practices and for failing to treat customers fairly in arrears.

The FSA also banned Cummings and has taken action to prevent three other directors at the firm from being able to operate in senior positions in the financial services industry.

While in charge of Bridging Loans, Cummings failed to act with integrity by knowingly misleading a client. He also assessed customers’ complaints based on his perception of their character, without properly reviewing their circumstances, and branded some customers as evil.

As an approved person, he failed to act appropriately when dealing with customers entering mortgage contracts or when handling their complaints and subsequently, in his treatment of customers in arrears.

Margaret Cole, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA, says: “This sort of behaviour towards customers cannot be tolerated and the FSA will continue to take action against firms that fail to have the proper systems and con-trols in place to ensure customers are being treated fairly.”