Major British banks have refuted accusations in a new report that claims they are maintaining undeclared losses worth around £40 billion ($62 billion).
According to a study published by corporate governance group PIRC yesterday (6 June), the country's five largest financiers are unable to meet the lending needs of the business sector because they have vast amounts of capital tied up elsewhere.
PIRC's research was conducted in order to uncover exactly how much HSBC, Barclays, Standard Chartered, Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) will have to write off as bad debt over the course of the next 12 months.
The body claimed that its study had established that each company is sitting on billions of pounds worth of undeclared losses.
However, these banks have today moved to deny these figures, with Standard Chartered telling the Daily Telegraph they are "fundamentally incorrect", for instance.
Meanwhile, Barclays labelled the report "purposefully misleading" and insisted it is "unjustifiable" to suggest its appetite to lend has been diminished by poor accounting standards.
By Tony Aynsley