29 July 2023

Senior minister reveals bank account challenges amid Farage row

29 July 2023

Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps has revealed how he and his family have struggled to open accounts at major banks in the wake of the Nigel Farage row.

The senior Cabinet minister revealed in an interview with the Sun that he and his family have all had issues opening accounts, as he accused banks of having “gone too far with this”.

He said the problems lay with the fact that he is a “politically exposed person”.

“Every single member of my family – my wife, my brother and my sister. All different banks,” he told the paper.

“It is difficulty in getting an account.

“My 19 year-old son, he’s just been sent an enormous letter, an enormous list of things that HSBC wants him to provide, which is as long as your arm and completely unreasonable…

“HSBC – the bank he has been with since he was a little kid – had asked him for a list as long as his arm about you know, what’s the source of your wealth and what’s this, what’s that.”

“My oldest son is 22 and he was outright refused an account by one of the Challenger banks.

“It is mad.”

He also spoke his own personal experience: “When I applied for accounts – I was asked for 18 years of a P60s recently.

“I said how am I meant to get 18 years of payslips? It was since I had started being an MP.”

Mr Shapps said that it was a problem faced by politicians and “anyone in public service” including former top civil servants.

The senior minister issued a warning to bank leaders, after the Government moved swiftly to introduce a number of reforms in the wake of Mr Farage’s high-profile campaign against Coutts and parent company NatWest.

Mr Farage has called for a culture change across the wider bank industry, as he continues to campaign on the issue.

“They’ve gone too far with this,” Mr Shapps said.

“They should get on with the job of being good at banking and not trying to second guess society. There are laws, there are politicians, there are courts.”

HSBC declined to comment.

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