The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the City regulator, has concluded its investigation into banks closing accounts based on customers’ personal views and found no evidence to support this claim. The investigation covered the period of 12 months leading up to June and was initiated following the controversy surrounding NatWest Group and their handling of accounts belonging to Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader.
The FCA had brought forward the release of its findings after a suspected leak to the Financial Times. The regulator stated that the evidence collected suggests that no bank closed an account primarily because of a customer’s political views between July 2022 and June 2023. However, the FCA plans to continue working with banks, building societies, and payment companies to verify the data provided and gain a better understanding of why and when they close accounts due to reputational risk.
Nigel Farage responded to the FCA’s findings by criticizing them, claiming that the report was a whitewash and a joke. He argued that if the regulator is not fit for purpose, it casts doubt on the integrity of the banking industry as a whole.
The probe into banks closing accounts based on personal views was ordered by the Chancellor, who warned banks of substantial fines if they engaged in such practices. Additionally, the Treasury has introduced a set of reforms aimed at increasing transparency regarding account closures.
While the FCA’s report may not have provided the evidence of account closures based on personal views, the controversy surrounding this issue has highlighted the need for greater oversight and transparency within the banking industry.
– Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
– The Financial Times