HUNDREDS of Scots business customers are expected to join a class action worth potentially worth hundreds of millions of pounds, over mis-sold business loans from Clydesdale Bank.

Claims management company RGL has lodged an initial lawsuit on behalf of about 140 former business customers of Clydesdale, but say ultimately there could be more than 2000 claimants. Around 400 of these are said to be from Scotland.

They say hundreds of the claims are expected to come from Scotland - and many of the cases may have to be heard in the Scottish courts.

The initial tranch of 140 claims were issued in the Chancery Division of the High Court in London.

However, RGL say they are waiting for the Scottish government to implement new US-style class-action legislation before deciding whether to take the cases to Scotland.

They also want to see whether both sides can agree to deal with all claims through the English courts.

James Hayward, chief executive of RGL said: "We are champing at the bit to serve the defendants with Scottish actions. We have Scots lawyers ready to go and Scots QCs ready to go. We have the money allocated for the Scottish cases and we are keen to crack on."

Clydesdale has said they have not received any official papers from the claim group.

The case relates to around 8,300 Tailored Business Loans (TBLs) that Clydesdale issued between 2001 and 2012 whose costs pushed some into insolvency.

The Herald:

In October, last year, a group of MPs called on the Financial Conduct Authority to launch an investigation into the “unanswered questions” surrounding tailored business loans provided to small and medium-sized enterprise customers by Clydesdale Bank (CYBG).

The small firms say they were not properly informed about the huge ‘break fees’ that were charged if they wanted to pay off expensive fixed-interest loans before the end of their term.

In some cases the penalties were said to be as much as £500,000 for a £1 million loan.

They claim the break fees were not properly disclosed to them at the time they took out the loans.

At the time a Clydesdale spokesman said the bank “strongly refuted” any suggestion the bank had not fully investigated historic cases involving business customers.

READ MORE: Clydesdale Bank hunger striker has received 'tremendous support' from Glasgow

The allegations against Clydesdale and NAB relate to claims of deceit, misrepresentation, negligent mis-statement, breach of contract and unjust enrichment in relation to the loans.

Mr Hayward added: “Clydesdale’s conduct towards its customers has been utterly disgraceful.

“We are pleased to be launching this action today to recover the hundreds of millions of pounds in losses owed to claimants. We are resourced to prosecute this matter to a successful outcome for the claimants.

"This is just the beginning. With a claim group in the thousands and growing, the bank will find itself facing successive waves of claims”.

John Guidi, the 63-year-old property entrepreneur who went on hunger strike in a dispute with Clydesdale Bank which he blamed for the collapse of his residential property business said he hoped the action would draw attention to the plight of the small businesses affected.

The Herald:

Mr Guidi, who is not part of the action, became bankrupt and faced eviction from his family home of 30 years when in March he decided to camp outside the Glasgow head office of CYBG – the owner of his former bank, Clydesdale – until its chief executive, David Duffy, the Government or financial authorities step in to help.

READ MORE: Clydesdale berated for 'browbeating' small business client

He said: "Certainly if it brings it to the bank's and the public's and the regulator's attention, then that is good, although it will ultimately be down to the courts. "But there was obviously an issue with the tailored business loans for a huge amount of people."

A spokesperson for CYBG said: “We strongly refute any suggestion Clydesdale Bank has not fully investigated historic cases involving SME customers. These allegations are not accepted by the Bank and will be defended in the strongest terms possible.

"The bank has dedicated substantial effort in recent years to engage openly and transparently with customers as part of a wide-ranging remediation programme, including conducting thorough investigations into complaints from SME customers, all of which we believe have been in line with the regulator's expectations."