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The Treasury will convene the heads of Britain’s greatest banks this week to clarify how they plan to make sure prospects should not “unbanked” for his or her political opinions after Coutts closed the account of former UK Independence Get together chief Nigel Farage.
NatWest, Lloyds, HSBC and Barclays are amongst 19 banks and fintechs to be referred to as to a gathering after Farage’s therapy sparked a political backlash and prompted the federal government to hurry up plans to crack down on unfair account closures.
Andrew Griffith, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, will write to banks on Monday.
They are going to be requested to indicate how they are going to guarantee “prospects can entry cost accounts with out worry of being unbanked for his or her lawful expression”, in accordance with a draft of the letter seen by the Monetary Occasions.
Coutts and its proprietor, NatWest, have been underneath hearth since Farage final week launched a 40-page file from Coutts displaying that his account had been shut down partially as a result of his views have been “at odds with our place as an inclusive group”.
NatWest chief govt Dame Alison Rose has apologized to Farage for the transfer and has pledged to supervise a evaluation of processes at Coutts, a high-end personal financial institution whose shoppers embody King Charles.
Based on the Treasury’s draft letter, senior financial institution officers will even be pressed on how they intend to implement guidelines unexpectedly introduced final week which the federal government says are designed to guard prospects’ proper to free speech.
The measures embody extending the discover interval for deserted prospects from 30 days to 90 days and offering prospects with a fuller clarification of the choice to desert them.
“In step with the power of sentiments expressed throughout parliament, corporations ought to search to take motion on this coverage as quickly as potential and do their finest to implement it,” in accordance with the draft letter.
NatWest, whose largest shareholder is the UK authorities following its bailout through the 2008 monetary disaster, didn’t say whether or not Rose was personally concerned in closing Farage’s account.
The Brexit chief and TV presenter mentioned he had submitted a so-called particular entry request in a bid to seek out out if Rose was concerned.
NatWest, Lloyds, HSBC and Barclays declined to remark. The Treasury didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.