Lloyds Banking Group Forced to Pay 3.5 Million

Here's a great David and Goliath story for the new year! It also follows on from my previous post about late payments. Big corporate groups might want to think again after this ruling and it may also give small companies courage to face up to the bullies of the financial world. All i can say is, what wonderful news that Lloyds TSB Foundation following a long-running dispute, has won back the £3.5m it was owed under a covenant agreement it had signed with Lloyds Bank Group. Why any group of bankers, in todays climate, would wish to go back on such an agreement beggars belief. Could they not see that the public and any right minded person would be in favour of a Charity that has given away 0ver 85 million of the bank's money to good causes in Scotland. All I can say is well done to Mary Craig the Chief Executive of the Foundation and to her Board for not giving into the Lloyds Banking Group and for having the guts to take them all the way to court. Shame on the Lloyds Banking Group for putting so many small charities through the hoop these past few years! The Foundation was set up as a separate Charity free from the influence of the Banking Group. They had claimed they should receive the money under an agreement entitling the Foundation to a share of profits. The agreement increased the profits following Lloyds' acquisition of Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) in 2009. Earlier Lord Glennie had ruled against the Foundation, in a remarkable turn around three appeal judges overturned his decision and ordered Lloyds to pay up £3.5m. I was thinking how proud Henry Duncan the minister from Ruthwell who originally founded the Savings Bank would have been of this ruling. Talking about the Foundation, I'm also glad that the Board of the Foundation has changed its policy towards funding churches who employ elders as part of their community ministry team. A few years ago we were informed that we could no longer use Lloyds TSB Foundation as a funder because Lilias and Dianne both elders in our congregation were also employed by the Kirk Session. I'm glad to report that the Foundation has since looked at the special office that Elders in the Kirk hold and have agreed with me that it would be discriminating on religious grounds to prevent an application going forward to the Foundation. So you can imagine I'm feeling good on two accounts. Glad that Mary and her team have money to give away to good causes and more than glad that we in St Andrew's Bo'ness can now once more make our bid in the next round of funding. Some of our pioneering work overseas was first funded by the Lloyds TSB Foundation. Isn't it inspirational to think that a man like Henry Drummond in seeking to care for the poor is still making an impact on his beloved Scotland. It is surely more important then for us, in an age that would like to exclude faith from the public arena that we who are the inheritors of Christian Faith be ever the more creative and compassionate in our calling to serve the whole of Scotland regardless of class creed or colour. Parishes churches are amongst the best placed organisations to serve communities. indeed we need to remind those who know little of the history of our land that far from bring disunity into communities, our history has often been the opposite. Some of Scotland's greatest social entrepreneurs have been and still are committed Christians. Now in a spirit of grace and goodwill the Lloyds Banking Group should agree to continue its giving to the Foundation, without any strings attached, instead of the threat that seems to be saying that the covenant will be terminated at the earliest opportunity. Who knows maybe even a Banking Group could be shamed into doing the right and honourable thing. Of course the question remains would the Foundation still want their money. If not I can recommend a minister who would gladly solve this issue if it turns out to be a problem.
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