HomeNews RoomBankingDebankedMajor British building society admits it IS closing accounts of people who ‘are rude or discriminate’

Major British building society admits it IS closing accounts of people who ‘are rude or discriminate’

(Bloomberg) — NatWest Group Plc unit Coutts potentially breached UK’s Financial Conduct Authority rules by failing to provide reasons for closing customers’ bank accounts, according to an independent review, which found no evidence of discrimination due to political views or affiliations.

NatWest commissioned the review by law firm Travers Smith in July after Coutts’ decision to close the account of political pundit and broadcaster Nigel Farage kicked up a furor and led to the dramatic exit of the British banking group’s then chief executive officer Alison Rose the same month.

The second phase of the review, released on Friday, found deficiencies in the internal process followed in some exit cases and that Coutts may have violated rules including the obligation to treat customers fairly. However, it found no evidence of political bias. 

“The report confirms that decision-making was consistent with relevant standards and otherwise appropriate,” NatWest said in a statement. The lender is “committed to implementing all of the recommendations” for better customer experience after the findings identified some areas in which policies and procedures on exit decisions could be improved, NatWest said.

The review examined two years through July 28 and analyzed the closing of 84 current accounts, representing around 10% of the relevant account closings during that period. 

“There were a number of shortcomings in our approach to account closures at Coutts and, in particular, in the quality and consistency of our communications,” Mohammad Syed, chief executive of Coutts, said in the statement. “The experience of some of our customers fell short of what they should expect, and we apologise to them.”

Rose left NatWest “by mutual consent” in late July after she apologized for speaking to a journalist about Farage following his complaint that the bank had written to him saying it was planning to close his account.

Have you been a victim of debanking? Tell us your story and we will share it to our community.