New data shows hundreds of UK farming businesses can qualify to join a major High Court fraud claim against Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank.
The case is being pursued in the High Court against the bank in relation to its selling of Tailored Business Loans (TBLs) and Fixed Rate Loans.
Litigation firms All Square Finance Ltd, RGL Management and Michelmores LLP, allege that Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, and the National Australia Bank, behaved fraudulently and dishonestly in the sale of these loans.
The announcement comes after new data was able to identify which business types and sectors were particularly affected from the thousands who took out these loans.
Analysis shows that Clydesdale or Yorkshire Bank customers in the farming sector were among those particularly affected, accounting for hundreds of eligible loans.
The largest eligible firms are now estimated to be owed millions of pounds by the bank, though average claim sizes are anticipated to be in the hundreds of thousands, with even the smallest loan sizes owed thousands of pounds, according to All Square.
In light of this new information, and due to the 'encouraging progress' of the legal action, All Square is ramping up the final phase of its bookbuild ahead of the first court hearing in December.
Many thousands of these Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank TBL and Fixed Rate Loan customers may still be unaware that they have a valid claim against these banks, All Square says.
The firm adds that anybody in Britain who took out a Tailored Business Loan or a Fixed Rate Loan from Clydesdale Bank or Yorkshire Bank is eligible to sign up for this group action claim - a type of litigation which allows a group of claimants with a common grievance to merge all their claims into one large case.
Over 6,500 customers took out TBLs from Clydesdale between December 2001 and July 2012, meaning that there remain thousands of businesses who are yet to join.
Daniel Hall, managing director of All Square, said: “With a date in court now set for this December, this is the last push to reach anybody who has not joined those thousands of claimants who are already safe in the knowledge they have signed up for the redress they are owed.
"Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank’s institutional dishonesty when selling Tailored Business Loans (TBLs) led to the destruction of countless lives and livelihoods.
"But any customer who was sold a Fixed Rate Business Loan or TBL is eligible to join this compensation claim, which is expected to run into the hundreds of millions of pounds."
Mr Hall added: "In the current business climate, we are particularly keen to reach people facing difficult circumstances who may not realise they are owed thousands, and in many cases six or seven figures, by the bank.
"The data we have analysed today allows us to reach out to those sectors that we know were particularly affected and bring this to their attention."
A spokesperson for Clydesdale Bank said there 'continued to be absolutely no substance or merit in the allegations made'.
"We have made this clear in our defence. Over recent years we have worked hard to investigate all historic SME conduct issues and we are confident we have done the right thing for those customers involved.
"We will continue to defend our position robustly throughout any legal process."
The first court hearing is scheduled for December 2020.