UK Finance recently commented on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA)’s account access and closure report.
According to UK Finance:
“Freedom of expression is vitally important and today’s report from the FCA makes clear that accounts are not being closed because of political beliefs or other lawfully held views. If an account is closed or an application declined, the main reason is dealing with financial crime concerns and the financial sector is at the forefront of efforts to tackle this crime.”
UK Finance also shared:
“Accounts are only closed after extensive review and customers must be treated fairly. The government has announced there will be an increased notice period and more information provided around account closures. These are important changes and we are working with the government and other regulatory bodies to implement them.”
As covered, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently released its initial report on potential discrimination at UK banks.
The report follows the saga of Nigel Farage, a vocal political personality and former UKIP leader, who had his account shuttered at Coutts after management decided his values did not align with theirs. According to the FCA, little evidence has been uncovered so far that other accounts are being closed due to legal political beliefs.
Nikhil Rathi, FCA Chief Executive, issued the following statement:
“While no bank, building society or payment firm reported to us that they had closed accounts primarily due to someone’s political views, further work is needed for us to be sure. As we undertake that work, the time is also right for a debate on how we balance access to bank accounts with the threat of financial crime, as well as firms’ reasonable risk and commercial appetites. An important question for policy makers is whether all individuals, businesses and organizations should have the right to an account, as is the case in some other countries.”