MPs are pressing for answers about allegations that some banks may have faked signatures on UK court documents used to repossess homes and recover debts.
Guardian Money revealed in February 2019 that a group called the Bank Signature Forgery Campaign was claiming there had been “alleged industrial-scale forgery” of signatures.
The group has said several banks and lenders were linked to documents carrying questionable signatures, and that in some cases people were evicted as a direct result.
In July 2019, parliament’s powerful Treasury committee wrote to the Financial Conduct Authority and the National Crime Agency requesting that they engage with the campaign to review its evidence and investigate as appropriate.
Fifteen months later, the MP Mel Stride, the chair of the committee, has written to the FCA and the NCA to ask about their findings so far and any regulatory or legal arguments that are being considered.
Stride told them he was “aware there will be sensitivities around some of this information, but I would welcome as much information as you can provide”.
The central allegation of the campaign is that signatures on some UK court documents appear to have been forged – that is, not signed by the person whose printed name appears under the “statement of truth”.
The campaign has amassed a dossier of signatures that purport to be by one person but which sometimes appear to be very different.
The all-party parliamentary group on fair business banking said it was supporting the campaign as its members “receive frequent and consistent representations from constituents with concerns over the possible forgery of signatures”.
It added: “This campaign will provide a vital method of gathering evidence of possible signature forgeries by UK banks in court documents.”
In the US, fake signatures on documents in the wake of the housing market bubble bursting in 2006-07, were among the “reckless and abusive mortgage practices” that resulted in a $25bn (£19bn) settlement between mortgage lenders and the US government and most US states in 2012.