Bank CEO ousted following politically-motivated de-banking of Nigel Farage

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Coutts bank, part of the NatWest Group, was exposed last week for having de-banked Nigel Farage for political reasons — something both the bank and the liberal British media previously denied.

Despite her apology last week, NatWest CEO Alison Rose has been ousted with the bank — her Tuesday admission to misleading the nation likely having been a factor.

While NatWest chairman Howard Davies indicated it "is a sad moment," Farage appears emboldened, stating on Twitter, "Dame Alison Rose has gone. Others must follow."

What's the background?

Farage, the former English politician who proved instrumental in the 2020 restoration of British sovereignty via Brexit, revealed early this month that he had been de-banked by Coutts and told his funds would be shifted to the lender NatWest.

The Guardian and other left-leaning British publications parroted the bank's suggestion that the rationale behind the shuttering of Farage's account was due to financial issues, specifically his alleged failure to meet wealth criteria.

However, Farage told BBC Radio 4, "I have been with them for a decade and at the moment I have more money sitting on current account than I have had for most of that time."

The Brexiteer appeared convinced that "the establishment" was "trying to force [him] out of the UK" owing to his political views, reported the Financial Times.

He wasn't wrong.

TheBlaze indicated last week that Farage got his hands on documents revealing both that he was right on the money and that the Times, the BBC, the Guardian and other liberal outfits were dead wrong: Coutts had taken issue with his political viewpoints and past public opinions.

Contrary to the bank's earlier suggestion, the 40-page file from Coutts bank obtained via a "subject access request" contained an acknowledgement that Farage was a commercially-viable customer.

The document further highlighted apparently unbecoming remarks made by the former politician, stressing the bank would be best off closing his account and "exiting" him upon the expiry of his mortgage, even though "it is very likely that the client would 'go public.'"

Among Farage's remarks and stances that got under the bankers' skins were were:

  • his 2020 comparison of the destructive and scandal-prone Black Lives Matter movement to the Taliban over their shared iconoclastic tendency to tear down statues;
  • his October 2022 suggestion that British politician Grant Shapps was a "remainer and a globalist";
  • his September 2022 suggestion that vicious tensions between Islamic and Hindu groups in Leicester were resultant of politicians deciding "to go down the road of diversity and multiculturalism";
  • his criticism of climate alarmism and his suggestion that "Net zero is net stupid";
  • his "Endorsements of Donald Trump"; and
  • his appearances on InfoWars.

Farage called the document "abusive," likening it to a "Stasi-style surveillance report."

Suella Braverman, the British home secretary, responded the revelations, writing, "The Coutts scandal exposes the sinister nature of much of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion industry."

— (@)

After Coutts was exposed, NatWest CEO Alison Rose penned an apology to Farage, stating, "I believe very strongly that freedom of expression and access to banking are fundamental to our society and it is absolutely not our policy to exit a customer on the basis of legally held political and personal views. ... To this end, I would like to personally reiterate our offer to you of alternative banking arrangements at NatWest."

The BBC and its reporter Simon Jack, who now faces demands to resign, followed suit, apologizing Monday.

— (@)

Outs at Coutts

Sky News reported that Rose admitted to having been the BBC's source of the false suggestion that Farage's de-banking was executed on the basis of strictly commercial reasons.

Farage noted that this was a breach of client confidentiality and Financial Conduct Authority code.

"The first rule of banking is you have to obey client confidentiality. So they have made a complete and utter mess of this," said Farage.

Rose resigned and further confirmed she was no longer a member of the prime minister's business council on Wednesday.

The bank claimed Rose's departure was "by mutual consent," reported the Associated Press.

Following the news of Rose's resignation, shares in the bank dropped 4%.

Farage said online that he hopes "this serves as a warning to the banking industry. We need both cultural and legal changes to a system that has unfairly shut down many thousands of innocent people."

He said in a statement, "they should all go," referencing the whole of the NatWest board, including its chairman, Davies.

— (@)

Into the breach

Farage vowed Wednesday evening in an article for the Telegraph that his "war on woke banks is about to rapidly expand."

"An emergency root and branch examination of what has happened at NatWest under Rose’s leadership must now take place. In recent years this bank – 39 per cent owned by taxpayers, remember – has morphed into a woke warrior," he wrote. "It has become obsessed with public displays of political correctness rather than focussing on the business of managing and making money. The truth is that in its quest to promote diversity and inclusion, this corporate giant has turned into a divisive and poisonous monster."

"Now is the time to fight back," wrote Farage, adding that he intends to be the voice for "everyday people" and "to campaign for the cultural and legal changes that our banking system needs."

The last time Farage put his mind to populist action, the United Kingdom ended up kicking the EU to the curb.

The Sunday Times recently indicated that NatWest is likely to soon face an avalanche of requests from tens-of-thousands of similarly de-banked customers, all wishing to know why they were canceled.

Banking minister Andrew Griffith convened a meeting of the executives from Britain's biggest banks Wednesday, telling them, "It’s not the job of banks to tell us what to think or what political party we should support."

"In a democracy that relies upon freedom of expression, freedom of thought, that isn’t a legitimate thing for a bank to remove someone’s access to a bank account, a really important building block of society today," added Griffith.

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Coutts claimed it de-banked Nigel Farage for financial reasons. The Brexiteer has since obtained the real reasons — and an apology from the bank president.

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Nigel Farage, the former English politician who proved instrumental in the 2020 restoration of British sovereignty via Brexit, obtained documents this week revealing that his de-banking by Coutts was grossly political in nature.

According to the Telegraph, Coutts bank, part of the NatWest Group, previously indicated to the BBC and the Financial Times that Farage's account had been closed for financial reasons.

That claim has since crumbled, resulting in an apology — not from the media outlets who got it wrong but from the head of the bank.

Farage recently obtained a damning 40-page file from Coutts bank via a "subject access request," which was subsequently published in its entirety by the Daily Mail.

The document, which had been presented to the bank's wealth reputational risk committee in November 2022 and focused on Farage's "controversial profile in public life and politics," acknowledged he was a commercially-viable customer, contrary to the bank's earlier suggestion.

Notwithstanding his viability, the document provided a number of politically charged reasons why Coutts would be best off closing Farage's account and "exiting" him upon the expiry of his mortgage, even though "it is very likely that the client would 'go public.'"

While admitting that there was "nothing substantive" to shore up allegations that he might have unbecoming "Russian connections," the document stressed that he had made a number of "public comments that created an increased reputational risk of Coutts continuing to bank with him."

Among the remarks, social media posts, and stances Farage took that got the bank 's dander up were:

  • his 2020 comparison of the destructive and scandal-prone Black Lives Matter movement to the Taliban over their shared iconoclastic tendency to tear down statues;
  • his October 2022 suggestion that British politician Grant Shapps was a "remainer and a globalist";
  • his September 2022 suggestion that vicious tensions between Islamic and Hindu groups in Leicester were resultant of politicians deciding "to go down the road of diversity and multiculturalism";
  • his criticism of climate alarmism and his suggestion that "Net zero is net stupid";
  • his "Endorsements of Donald Trump"; and
  • his appearances on InfoWars.

The document further insinuated that Farage could be regarded as a "disingenuous grifter" with "xenophobic, chauvinistic and racist views."

Farage, who previously suggested his de-banking amounted to "political persecution," responded to the document, calling it "astonishing, it's abusive and it makes a whole series of wildly false statements about Russia while acknowledging I have not been convicted of anything."

He further characterized the bank document as a "Stasi-style surveillance report."

Suealla Braverman, a British Conservative member of Parliament and Home Secretary, noted Wednesday, "The Coutts scandal exposes the sinister nature of much of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion industry Apparently anyone who wants to control our borders & stop the boats can be branded 'xenophobic' & have their bank account closed in the name of 'inclusivity.'"

Braverman suggested that other organizations "who have naively adopted this politically biased dogma need a major rethink."

Following similar denunciations from other parliamentarians, Alison Rose, the chief executive of NatWest Group, apologized to Farage Thursday, writing, "I am writing to apologise for the deeply inappropriate comments about yourself made in the now published papers prepared for the Wealth Committee. ... I would like to make it clear that they do not reflect the view of the bank," reported GB News.

"I believe very strongly that freedom of expression and access to banking are fundamental to our society and it is absolutely not our policy to exit a customer on the basis of legally held political and personal views," added Rose. "To this end, I would like to personally reiterate our offer to you of alternative banking arrangements at NatWest."

Farage responded on Twitter, writing, "Dame Alison Rose’s apology is a start, but it is no more than that. She needs to take responsibility as CEO, and is wrong to say the views of her own committee’s report don’t reflect the bank. I will now defend thousands of other people that have been de-banked on her watch."

It appears neither the BBC nor the BBC reporter, Simon Jack, who originally peddled Coutts' false claims about Farage's cancellation, have yet apologized to the Brexiteer.

The Sunday Times reported that following the revelation that Farage's politics likely played a determining factor in his de-banking, NatWest will soon be faced with an avalanche of requests from tens-of-thousands of similarly de-banked customers to know why they were kicked to the curb.

De-banking is not a uniquely British phenomenon.

JPMorgan Chase canceled the faith-based nonprofit National Committee for Religious Freedom's checking account last year, reported the Christian Post.

Sam Brownback, NCRF chairman and former Trump ambassador-at-large or international religious freedom, indicated there was "never an official cause given" or forewarning for the account closure.

NCRF Executive Director Justin Murff posed the question, "If they can 'de-bank' the NCRF, a multi-faith religious nonprofit, what happens when they start 'de-banking' pastors and Christian business people?"

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) subsequently penned a letter to the bank's CEO, Jamie Dimon, stating, "I have previously noted my grave concern with politically-motivated de-banking. Bank decisions should be made using impartial risk standards to determine credit worthiness, not arbitrary political or ideological concerns."

Nebraska State Treasurer John Murante (R) wrote an opinion piece in Newsweek in March, highlighting how Chase "has denied payments or canceled accounts associated with people and organizations—such as former ambassador Sam Brownback, the Arkansas Family Council, Defense of Liberty, and retired general Michael Flynn, Jr—for holding mainstream American views. In fact, a former Chase executive described the bank's practice of 'red-dotting,' where Chase employees can flag customers for cancelation based on their perceived reputational or social risk."

Murante added, "When powerful banks like Chase retain unbridled discretion to cancel accounts for arbitrary or biased reasons, it undermines the freedom of everyday Americans to participate in society and the marketplace without fear of discrimination based on their political or religious views."

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