Co-op Bank escapes regulatory fine

Co-op branch Image copyright Getty Images

The Co-operative Bank has escaped a fine from regulators investigating the "failings" throughout 2009-13 that led to its bailout.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said the Co-op had misled investors - which would normally mean a fine.

Georgina Philippou, the FCA's acting director of enforcement said it was a serious matter.

But she said exceptional circumstances meant public censure was the appropriate and proportionate response.

Ms Philippou said: "It is vitally important that Co-op Bank's capital resources are directed towards improving its resilience.

"Co-op Bank's statements about capital in the 2012 financial statements were misleading."

Co-op said these were "legacy issues" that had occurred under the previous management.

Its chairman, Dennis Holt, apologised and said the bank was "a significantly stronger organisation today under the leadership of the current senior management team".

"They relate to historical events and legacy issues and were not decisions made by the current senior management team."

Mr Holt said the bank had made "material progress" in addressing these shortcomings and had overhauled processes, systems and practices, significantly strengthened its board and rebuilt the bank's capital position."

Analysis: Kamal Ahmed, BBC business editor

My sources at the FCA have admitted that this is the first time a firm of the Co-op's size has escaped a fine given the findings against it.

The main reason, according to both the Bank of England and the FCA, is that the Co-op still has a lot of work to do building its capital position, the key marker of the financial health of a bank.

Remember, the Co-op was the only bank to fail the Bank of England's stress tests last year.

The regulators appear to have made the judgement that because the bank is still making losses, a fine would have been counter-productive.

Read Kamal's blog in full

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