US Banking Giant Faces Investigation: Abrupt Account Closures Raise Concerns About Customer Rights - Report

Investigation Launched: US Financial Giant and Two British Banks Accused of Debanking Clients Based on Political Views

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"US Amex Banking Arm & UK Banks Under Investigation: Allegations of Politically Motivated Account Closures - The Telegraph Report"

Amid growing concerns over politically motivated unbanking practices, the banking arm of American Express, along with Metro Bank and Yorkshire Building of the UK, are currently under evaluation by Her Majesty's (HM) Treasury. The investigation aims to determine if customers had their accounts wrongfully suspended and terminated, with specific allegations cited by The Telegraph.

Metro Bank faces accusations of closing bank accounts linked to the political party Reform UK in 2021 and the Brexit Party's Metro accounts in 2020, as claimed by UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Farage's accounts at Coutts Bank were also recently closed due to staff members stating his views did not align with their values.

Reform UK leader Richard Tice reported his American Express account being terminated after refusing to hand over certain documents upon the firm's request.

Likewise, Yorkshire Building closed the account of Reverend Richard Fothergill after his inquiry about the bank's support of trans people and celebration of Pride month, although the exact reasoning behind the account closure remains unspecified.

Andrew Griffith, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, has called in executives from top banks, financial institutions, and payment providers to discuss their treatment of prominent clients expressing controversial political views. Griffith emphasized that banks and payment service providers, as privileged entities in society, should not terminate contracts of payment account facilities based on users' lawful freedom of expression.

The government strongly supports the fundamental right to freedom of expression for all individuals in British society and is committed to taking necessary actions to protect it.

Jul 30, 2023

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