A businessman has begun a hunger strike opposite the headquarters of Clydesdale Bank to protest about the way he claims it has treated him.
John Guidi, 63 from Glasgow, is sleeping in a tent in the city centre outside of the Clydesdale headquarters. Mr Guidi blames the bank for removing funding from his once successful property business and then selling his loans to another company.
Mr Guidi has been a loyal customer of Clydesdale bank for over twelve years and had built up a portfolio of over 150 rental properties. He says the bank withdrew his funding in 2012 and he now faces eviction from his own home where he has lived for 30 years. “The bank’s moral compass is all over the place. I will do this for as long as it takes and for as long as I can hold up,” he said. “I don’t know if that will be tomorrow or next week or longer. I woke up one morning and wondered what I was going to do . . . I am going to starve myself as I want my protest heard.”
Mr Guidi claims that despite not missing any loan payments in 12 years, he was given a default notice. Hesaid that he offered to pay £6.7 million, equivalent to 70p for each £1 he owed, after it proved impossible to refinance his debts with other lenders, but the bank refused. By 2016, Mr Guidi’s property businesses had been put into receivership. Mr Guidi said that Clydesdale was responsible for his predicament despite selling on his debt in 2015 to another company.
A spokesman for the bank said that it had offered to discuss Mr Guidi’s case with him but added: “Clydesdale Bank has taken no action against Mr Guidi in relation to his house and other parties involved in this process are not acting on behalf of the bank. We understand Mr Guidi’s trustee in bankruptcy has put the court action in respect of his house on hold, pending the outcome of related court proceedings. For his safety and wellbeing, we strongly urge Mr Guidi not to undertake any extreme personal protests.”
Campaigners have now taken up Mr Guidi’s case and want Clydesdale to look again at complex loans it gave to customers. The loans were widely criticised for being too complex and mis-sold to customers.
Clydesdale Bank was founded in 1838 and is now part of CYBG, the London-listed group that also owns Yorkshire Bank and Virgin Money. CYBG offers financial services including bank accounts and loans. It is the sixth biggest retail banking group in Britain.