The City regulator has found no evidence that banks are closing accounts on the basis of customers’ personal views, Sky News understands, to the fury of former Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is due to report shortly on the findings of its investigation, implemented amid the so-called de-banking row that engulfed NatWest in relation to the politician’s dealings with the group’s Coutts arm.
But the Financial Times reported on Tuesday that the watchdog had found nothing to support his claims of a wider problem among the 34 lenders it had examined.
Mr Farage reacted by claiming the FCA was part of the alleged problem.
“The FCA says it finds no evidence of politicians being ‘debanked’ over political views. This new report is a whitewash and a joke”, he wrote on X – formally known as Twitter.
“If we don’t have a regulator that is fit for purpose, what hope is there for our banking industry?”
The probe was ordered by the chancellor who warned industry participants last month that they faced “very large” fines if they closed customer accounts based on their political opinions.
The Treasury has also unveiled a package of reforms designed to force banks to be more transparent about account closures.
The FCA’s report, however, would seem to suggest the government has jumped the gun.
The regulator signalled it would set out its findings at the time of the publication of its investigation.
It came after Mr Farage obtained a 40-page dossier from Coutts which suggested the closure of his accounts was taken partly because his views did not align with its “values”, including his position on LGBTQ+ rights and friendship with former US president Donald Trump.