Banks across the UK face a wave of direct action protests starting on Monday including hunger strikes outside Clydesdale Bank’s Glasgow headquarters, Danske Bank’s branch in Belfast and Lloyds’ offices in Bristol.
In Glasgow, Scottish businessman John Guidi, a former property developer, will pitch his tent outside the bank claiming that he is being made homeless after his £16m property business collapsed. He alleges he was mis-sold controversial tailored business loans in the early 2000s.
He says Clydesdale then abruptly withdrew funding in 2012 and transferred the loans to its former owner National Australia Bank before they sold the portfolio to private equity firm Cerberus in 2015.
It is the second time Guidi has gone on hunger strike, after suspending his first protest in March when David Duffy, CEO of Clydesdale’s parent company, agreed to look into his case.
But Guidi said he feels betrayed. “Duffy made a lot of promises to me about the justice of my case. After four months of negotiations he tells me he can do nothing for me. What a disgraceful betrayal.”
In a statement, CYBG said: “Following Mr Guidi’s protests in March, we have taken a further detailed look at his case and it’s clear the bank is not responsible for the situation he is in and it would be completely wrong for us to pay out money where there is no substance to his claims against the bank.”
Other protestors are resorting to hunger strikes this week, including 74-year-old former ballet teacher Marjorie Armstrong.
She is will set up her own tent outside Danske Bank’s branch in central Belfast on Tuesday, refusing to eat between 7am and 7pm each day. According to reports, she blames the bank and its surveyor for a failed deal that sent the property business owned by Armstrong and her husband, Hubert, into bankruptcy.
Danske Bank rejected the allegations but said it is in discussions with the couple and were keen to find a resolution to the complaint.
On Tuesday, former Lloyds customer Trevor Mealham also intends to launch a hunger strike outside Lloyds Banking Group’s business support unit in Bristol, saying his tech business failed after the bank withdrew a £200,000 loan offer.
Lloyds declined to comment.