The Royal Bank of Scotland, banker to scores of law firms, has slimmed down one of its specialist legal panels.
Routine personal debt recovery work is now being carried out by a handful of practices linked to a computer network.
The panel has shrunk from about 35 to just nine firms to take advantage of information technology efficiency savings.
Chief solicitor Derek Arnott says: “With this kind of high-volume, routine work we are talking about fairly small amounts of money. If you are generating a lot of correspondence the system becomes less effective. We have tried to eliminate this by introducing the streamlined system.”
The bank was previously able to choose from about 35 firms but it used to use “a fairly tight group”, Arnott says.
He adds that the bank continues to instruct a large number of solicitors for other work including domestic mortgages, and commercial transactions.
“There is absolutely no question of us reducing our general panels,” he says.