The UK’s three charity regulators have criticised big banks for ‘suddenly closing or suspending’ charities’ bank accounts.
The Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator are urging high street banks to improve services for charities, which they have blasted as ‘substandard’.
It comes days after we revealed that a raft of community bank accounts, including those of charities, have been ‘debanked’ by Barclays without warning or explanation.
Debanking hit the headlines with a row between Nigel Farage and NatWest after it closed his Coutts account, but This is Money’s investigations revealed the scale to which it is happening to organisations, including a parish council, male voice choir and steam train enthusiasts group.
In an open letter sent today to the chief executives of major high street banks, the charity regulators said that charities are having their accounts closed or suspended suddenly, and have been experiencing ‘poor customer service and administrative delays’.
In one case, the letter said a charity had its bank account frozen with little notice after asking for scanned identification from more than 60 trustees, many of whom were elderly with no access to internet banking.
Another charity had its account frozen after a bed bound trustee suffering with cancer was unable to sign a document, despite having the signatures of dozens of other trustees.