A small business owner whose NatWest account was shut without explanation has been left wondering if it was linked to political posts on social media.
Tej Bal, a 35-year-old from Birmingham, has submitted a subject access request to the bank.
Mr Bal, who had been a customer since 2007, combed through social media but found only ‘tongue in cheek’ posts about lockdown.
He said: ‘The only other political posts I have made, would’ve been to share posts of the farmers’ protest in India.’
The only other explanation Mr Bal could think of relates to his decision to pay off a personal loan he had with the bank early, as well as closing his credit cards.
Another businessman was horrified to find his NatWest accounts closed down after he complained about excessive Covid restrictions.
Mayur Patel, who describes himself as a Brexiteer and Boris Johnson fan, believes his accounts were shut in an act of ‘personal revenge’ by a staff member in Kent.
As a newsagent and landlord, the 55-year-old claimed to have given the bank business worth more than £1million.
On a visit to a branch in Maidstone during lockdown, he complained that the social-distanced queuing system seemed ‘excessively cautious’ and that paying customers should not be forced to wait ‘in the cold’.
A member of staff accused him of being rude – which Mr Patel denies – and within 72 hours he was told that his accounts were being closed.
Meanwhile a car dealer believes his criticism of immigration policies, eco-activists and NHS waiting lists on social media may have played a part in the closure of his bank accounts.
Vance Martin, from Cheltenham, was stunned to find his accounts with NatWest had been closed in November.
The 67-year-old said: ‘Despite my best efforts to find out why, by speaking to various departments, they refused to tell me why they closed my accounts.
‘It wasn’t until the Farage situation came to light, that I thought it may be my somewhat forthright comments on Facebook.’
He claimed his political comments had included criticism of ‘the refusal of the police to stop protesters’, the Government’s ‘inability’ to control immigration and the ‘state of the NHS’.
Mr Vance insisted that these were just ‘normal things that most people complain of’.