HomeNews RoomDebankedFarage weighs up mass legal fight against banks as 3,000 tell him: They closed our accounts too

Farage weighs up mass legal fight against banks as 3,000 tell him: They closed our accounts too

The scale of Britain’s ‘debanking scandal’ was last night revealed after nearly 3,000 people claimed their accounts have been unexpectedly closed.

More than 570 were former customers of NatWest, which was plunged into crisis last year after its subsidiary, the elite bank Coutts, shut down Nigel Farage‘s account.

Mr Farage, the honorary president of Reform UK, told The Mail on Sunday there is ‘a very real possibility’ of a class action against NatWest and revealed he has instructed lawyers to examine whether the bank has potentially committed any criminal offences.

Coutts, whose clients include members of the Royal Family, dropped Mr Farage as a customer last June after a report claimed his views did not align with the bank’s values. It cited his reposting on social media of a joke made by Ricky Gervais that it labelled as ‘transphobic’.

A bombshell document later revealed how NatWest staff privately referred to him as a ‘crackpot’ and boasted about having potentially ‘driven him out of the country’. Amid a growing political furore, Mr Farage launched the website AccountClosed.org in an attempt to discover how widespread the issue of people losing their bank accounts has become.

He last night revealed how the site has received 2,983 submissions from people claiming to have been debanked. In the vast majority of cases, the banks had cited ‘commercial reasons’ for closing the accounts, it is claimed.

The most prolific alleged ‘debanker’ was NatWest, with 574 customers (19.2 per cent) claiming to have lost their accounts, with another 57 at Coutts coming forward. Some 412 with Barclays (13.8 per cent), 245 with HSBC (8.2 per cent) and 172 with Lloyds (5.8 per cent) are also alleged to have lost their accounts.

‘Accountclosed.org is now potentially a very powerful tool to fight back against the debanking scandal and demonstrates the seriousness of this problem,’ Mr Farage said.

‘There is a very real possibility of class action. It is notable that, according to the research, NatWest is among the worst offenders.’

NatWest’s chief executive Dame Alison Rose resigned in July last year after falsely suggesting to a journalist Mr Farage’s opinions had not been a factor in the loss of his account. Three months later, lawyers hired by NatWest found that the bank showed ‘serious failings’ in its treatment of Mr Farage, but the decision to shut his account was lawful and predominantly commercial. Mr Farage has branded the verdict a ‘whitewash’.

He has also said he will issue legal proceedings against NatWest within days if it does not settle a compensation claim with him and promise to stop closing the accounts of customers whose views it does not agree with.


The MoS understands that the former Ukip leader has also instructed lawyers to investigate whether NatWest has broken any laws over the way his account was closed.

‘I have asked my legal team to explore all avenues in order to hold them to account,’ he said.

NatWest said it has apologised to Mr Farage and that his ‘experience fell short of the standards that any customer should expect’.

The bank said it understands the ‘concern and frustration’ customers feel when accounts are closed, adding: ‘We do not exit customers based on their legally held political views and beliefs.’

A spokesman also said: ‘About 93 per cent of closures are due to financial crime or fraud reasons, or a failure to provide information to meet legal or regulatory obligations in order to comply with our own obligations and to protect our customers and wider society.’

Barclays said it would only withdraw banking services ‘in exceptional circumstances’, while both HSBC and Lloyds said they do not close accounts due to customers’ ‘political or personal’ views.

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