As a result of the former leader of UKIP and the Brexit Party alleging that his account was canceled because to his beliefs, the affluent bank has come under fire from some leading Conservatives.
As it faces harsh criticism for severing ties with Nigel Farage, Coutts has stated that it does not cancel customer bank accounts “solely on the basis of legally held political and personal views.”
After the former leader of UKIP and the Brexit Party claimed that his account was canceled because his opinions did not correspond with the company’s “values,” a number of Conservatives openly criticized the bank.
In response to the controversy, the Treasury is getting ready to mandate that banks provide clients three months’ notice before closing accounts and a thorough justification.
Amid worries about free speech, banks also risk losing their licenses if they terminate accounts because they disagree with a customer’s political views.
The last day of the parliament before the summer break is marked by strikes that affect the NHS and the railways.
A Coutts spokeswoman acknowledged the “substantial interest” in the Farage case in a fresh statement released on Thursday, but added that due to customer confidentiality laws, the company was unable to discuss in detail.
However, they emphasized that “closing customer accounts solely based on legally held political and personal views is not Coutts’ policy.”
“Decisions to close an account are not made lightly,” Coutts continued. “They take into account a variety of variables, including as the account’s business viability, its reputation, and applicable legal and regulatory obligations.
“We acknowledge the vital significance of financial access. Our client was provided alternate banking facilities with NatWest when it became evident that he would not be able to get them elsewhere, as he has verified publicly. It is still an offer.
“We appreciate the public’s concern that the procedures for severing a business relationship with a customer and the manner in which that is communicated are not sufficiently transparent.”
“We welcome the anticipated recommendations from HM Treasury in this regard, as well as the request to prioritize the review of the regulatory rules pertaining to politically exposed persons,” they continued.
“We look forward to cooperating with the government, the regulatory body, and the larger industry to maintain banking access for all,” the company stated.
On Wednesday, Mr. Farage referred to a document as “prejudiced and nasty” in which he claimed Coutts had stopped his bank account as a result of his political views.
The former leader of the Brexit Party claims to have a 40-page document that demonstrates Coutts “exited” him because he was thought to be “xenophobic and racist” as well as a previous “fascist.”
The former head of UKIP and the Brexit Party called for legislation to be changed to guarantee everyone’s ability to create a bank account and expressed dismay at the “vitriol” contained in the letter.
He previously asserted that a subject access request he filed with the bank—whose clientele include members of the Royal Family—showed that the bank considered him a PEP, or “politically exposed person”—someone who currently holds or had held public office and may therefore be more vulnerable to bribery or corruption.
Without a banking method, Mr. Farage warned that he may “effectively become a non-person” and said that 10 institutions had declined to open an account in his name.
Several Conservative MPs, including David Davis and Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, both former cabinet ministers, have brought up his grievances.
In response, the prime minister stated that the government intended to “crack down on this practice” and that it “wouldn’t be right if financial services were denied to anyone exercising their right to lawful free speech.”
When questioned about the controversy today, the prime minister’s official spokesperson stated that the government thought bank regulations needed to be “toughened up” to prevent discrimination based on political beliefs.
They stated that the government will shortly disclose its results after examining the data from a consultation on the right to free expression when using payment systems.
“We recently passed a law that requires the FCA to review how banks treat what are known as politically exposed persons so we can strike a balance between a customer’s right to free speech and the right of the bank to manage commercial risks,” they continued.
Additionally, we requested that the FCA evaluate whether these institutions are following its recommendations on politically exposed individuals.
We certainly believe that more research is necessary, but I won’t jump ahead of the job.
“Well done, the government,” said Mr. Farage in response to the measure.
This, in my opinion, is one of the government’s swiftest actions in a very long time.
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