Scotland's biggest banks have washed their hands of Rangers newco, forcing it to abandon its controversial bid to collect direct debit season ticket payments from fans and to sign up with a small bank with no branches in Scotland.
The Sunday Herald can reveal that the Royal Bank of Scotland refused to underwrite the agreement between Rangers newco and FastPay, a Manchester-based direct debit company, to run the handling of payments by the club's 40,000 season ticket holders.
It is understood departments within the banks refused to sanction an overdraft facility for FastPay and advised that the bank has no dealings with the current owners of Rangers assets, Charles Green's consortium. The bank is understood to be concerned at the current uncertainty about the club's future and its backers.
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As part of the deal, FastPay needed the overdraft to pay £2.6 million to Rangers newco upfront, which it would have recouped from season ticket holders' direct debit payments. Season tickets, which cost between £400 and £500 each, have raised close to £20m for the club each year in recent seasons.
Without the overdraft FastPay can't give money to Rangers newco, which is registered as Sevco. This could potentially cause cash flow problems for the company and undermine Green's efforts to find more investors for the club.
It emerged yesterday that Rangers has hired Metro Bank as its new corporate bank. Metro is a new arrival on the British banking scene, having launched two years ago. It currently has no presence in Scotland.
The Sunday Herald understands that bigger banks shared the opinion of RBS and would not enter into an arrangement with Rangers newco.
Andy Kerr of the Rangers Supporters Assembly said: "You can understand RBS's position. If they haven't been involved with the club previously, they are going to say it looks like a big risk. It's worrying that we cannot even get a stable financial arrangement up and running."
He said it was surprising that Rangers were banking with Metro. "You would have thought a club the size of Rangers would start by asking the major banks, except [former bank] Lloyds, of course."
Rangers' arrangements for season ticket renewal payments made headlines last week after supporters complained that the previously unheard of FastPay was trying to debit their accounts, despite the fact that they had already told the club that they wanted to cancel their season tickets.
Former Rangers player John Brown had called on fans to boycott season tickets as part of a push to force Green to sell the club to them.
After complaints about the direct debit arrangements, the club's owners first tried to assure fans that no payments would be deducted until July 6.
The Sunday Herald can reveal that FastPay had become involved with Rangers newco when approached by Metro Bank on the club's behalf to ask if it would become the club's direct debit handler. Insiders suggest FastPay was initially willing to consider involvement but later shared the RBS view and said it was no longer interested. It later changed its mind after heavy pressure from Rangers newco.
The deal hit more trouble when FastPay tried to get it signed-off from a different part of RBS, but personnel within the bank refused after discovering that the proposal had already been rejected.
There are fears this may hit season ticket sales, adding to the financial problems of Rangers newco.
A Rangers spokesman said: "The club has reviewed arrangements for direct debit collection primarily because of confusion and concern among supporters - surrounding the new arrangements.
"This in turn caused issues for supporters and service providers and following feedback and discussions we have decided not to accept direct debits for the forthcoming season."
RBS declined to comment. FastPay was unavailable for comment.