In a shocking revelation, newly released data obtained through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has exposed a debanking scandel with closing over 1,000 accounts every working day.
This has ignited a heated debate over the so-called “debanking” practice, with former UK Independence Party (Ukip) leader Nigel Farage calling for an urgent investigation by a royal commission. The FoI request uncovered that, in 2016-17, more than 45,000 accounts were abruptly shut by banks. The alarming situation has only worsened over the years, with a staggering 343,000 accounts closed in 2021-22, translating to the unsettling closure of well over 1,000 bank accounts on a daily basis.
Closure Without Explanation
Individuals and organizations affected by “debanking” have reportedly received little or no explanation for the sudden closures. Banks sometimes cite concerns over financial crimes as the reason, leaving customers in distress and uncertainty.
Nigel Farage’s case has added fuel to the fire, revealing that his political views played a role in the closure of his account in Coutts, a subsidiary of NatWest. The fallout from his situation led to the resignation of the chief executives of both NatWest Group and Coutts, with Farage demanding the stepping aside of NatWest Group’s chair, Sir Howard Davies.
Farage, now spearheading a campaign website, is demanding a swift investigation by a royal commission to address the growing crisis. He expressed solidarity with the countless individuals and small businesses across the country who have experienced account closures, asserting that their lives have been unfairly disrupted.
The Guardian reported that approximately 90,000 individuals have been categorized as “politically exposed persons,” leading to the rejection of some politicians or their families by banks. The ripple effects of this situation have also impacted anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, whose True and Fair party was informed that their account with digital bank Monzo would be closed in September.
Call For Intervention
As the “debanking” scandal continues to unfold, pro-Brexit groups have also raised their voices, reporting similar difficulties accessing banking services. The public outcry has intensified, with calls for the UK government and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to intervene and ensure fair treatment for all citizens and organizations, regardless of their political affiliations.
The future of banking transparency and accountability now hangs in the balance, with urgent action needed to address the mounting concerns and protect the financial stability of those affected.