RBS has announced a range of measures to support smaller businesses when they get into trouble, after a report commissioned by the bank claimed it had found no evidence of systematic fraud towards its business customers.
The state-owned bank was accused in a government report of institutional behaviour in artificially distressing otherwise viable small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).
RBS appointed Clifford Chance to undertake a "thorough and independent" review of the allegation made by the review's Lawrence Tomlinson in his report that the bank systematically put its customers "on a journey towards administration, receivership and liquidation".
But, after interviewing 138 small business customers in the recovery unit, 45 employees and reviewing 130 files, the lawyers said they had found no evidence to support the allegation.
However the report was criticised as "flawed" by rival law firm Berg, which claimed the investigation "did not look at any factual disputes" and that the files reviewed were provided by RBS and were not those of the individuals who were interviewed.
Alison Loveday, Managing Partner at the law firm, said: "Berg has clients who had viable businesses, that were forced into GRG (Global Restructuring Group) by the bank and believes the system taken by Clifford Chance was flawed. Berg actually offered to submit information to Clifford Chance to help the investigation, with no response."
RBS Chief Executive Ross McEwan said the allegations had "a profound effect" on the bank and that it was determined to earn back the trust of customers.
"Following the reckless lending that led up to the financial crisis, the bank's shareholders and customers lost billions of pounds on bad loans. The bank, through its restructuring team, helped minimise those losses where it could, successfully turning round thousands of businesses, safeguarding hundreds of thousands of jobs. This required the bank to make incredibly difficult decisions, but our first priority then and now is to try and help our customers recover.
To try and improve its reputation with growth business customers RBS announced a range of new measures to improve its support when they get into financial trouble.
For example, the bank said it has stopped the "double handover" where a customer was given different relationship managers through their restructuring process.
RBS also said that, unlike other high street banks, it will no longer charge default interest for the first 90 days when an SME customer defaults.
It said it has also stopped other smaller fee practices and will continue to look to improve transparency, especially around charges and fees and why business customers have entered its restructuring unit.
An anonymous comment on the RBS website showed the bank still has some way to go to bring people round: "What a 'failing' - to ALL those Small Business owners who lost more than a 'business' - they've lost their dignity after developing a business plan, securing funding and working hard to improve their Social Mobility... only to be failed. How can it be acceptable that a bank - whose biggest shareholder is the public - be allowed to choose who investigates its wrongdoings?"
Shares in RBS were up 0.3% to 301.1p at 13:03 on Thursday.