British banks cancel customers who ‘discriminate in any way’
‘I don’t want to live in communist China’
Yudi Sherman, Frontline news, July 05, 2023
British financial institutions are closing the accounts of customers who hold the wrong political views, according to activists and prominent politicians.
Yorkshire Building Society, the UK’s third-largest such financial institution with three million customers, admitted Friday to canceling customers who “discriminate in any way”.
“We do not close savings accounts based on different opinions regarding beliefs,” a Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) spokesman told MailOnline. “We would only make the difficult decision to close a savings account if a customer is rude, abusive, violent or discriminates in any way, based on the specific facts and behaviour in each case.”
The comment came in response to allegations that YBS closed the account of a customer who asked why the institution had draped its offices in rainbow flags.
Nigel Farage, one of the UK’s most popular Right-leaning figures, announced last week that his bank accounts — believed to be with Coutts Bank — will be shut down this summer for undisclosed reasons. Three of Farage’s family members are reportedly suffering the same treatment. The Brexit mastermind believes he is being forced out of the country and, as of Monday, says he has since been rejected by nine other banks.
“Some of these ridiculous rules and closures have been extended to my immediate family,” said Farage. “I am enraged and also have a feeling of guilt that members of my family are being punished for my campaign to leave the European Union.”
Farage says he was in a Sainsbury store trying to buy milk when his card was suddenly declined. He called the bank, whose representative notified him that his accounts had been canceled.
“The banking industry in the UK has become politicised,” he added. “We are going down a road where anybody in Britain could say something on Facebook or Twitter that a bank doesn’t like and lose their accounts.”
Journalist Scott Campbell, who founded a pro-Scottish independence blog called Wings Over Scotland, says his bank account was summarily shut down by First Direct after he stated, “Women don’t have penises.” Campbell says the bank claimed to have sent him a letter notifying him of the decision, for which they refused to provide a reason.
Actor and activist Laurence Fox, who has publicly opposed totalitarian gender ideology, says his political party Reclaim was denied a bank account in 2021.
“The Reclaim Party cannot get a uk bank account,” he said. “Despite three years of box ticking and immaculate compliance. In fact, entire new compliance departments are created just to stop us existing.”
Last month, Barclays Bank was forced to pay Christian groups £20,000 ($25,400) in compensation for closing their accounts in response to pressure from authoritarian gender operatives.
UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt Tuesday reportedly ordered an investigation into the allegations against financial institutions, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned banks against blacklisting customers for free speech.
British banks who shut down customers for holding the wrong political views would find kindred spirits among their American counterparts who have been engaging in the practice for years.
In May, nineteen Republican attorneys general sent a letter to JPMorgan Chase demanding the institution stop discriminating against “conservatives and religious groups” by “de-banking” their accounts.
The AGs cited an incident from May 2022, when Chase abruptly closed the account belonging to the National Committee for Religious Freedom (NCRF), a nonprofit aimed at safeguarding freedom for all religions. No transactions had raised any red flags. NCRF made some calls and discovered the decision had come from the “corporate office” and that a note in their file forbade staff from providing any clarity as to why their account was closed.
Chase eventually told NCRF that it would restore the organization’s account, but only if it divulged its donors, the political candidates it planned to support, and other unnecessary information.
In 2021 a Chase-owned credit card processor notified the pro-life organization Family Council that “we can no longer support your business” because it was considered “High Risk”. But the nonprofit met none of the qualifications for the High Risk category.
WePay, a payment gateway owned by Chase, refused service to a conservative group because it felt its views supported “hate, violence, racial intolerance, [and] terrorism”.
Also in 2021 Chase abruptly closed former Trump National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s bank account for “reputational reasons,” according to The Heritage Foundation.
The attorneys general noted that on the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index, which measures a company’s tolerance for a diversity of viewpoints and beliefs, JPMorgan Chase scored 15% out of 100.
Banks are free to refuse service to anyone, acknowledges the letter, but then Chase should not claim to be “inclusive” and “diverse” as it does.
“The bank’s brazen attempt to condition critical services on a customer passing some unarticulated religious or political litmus test flies in the face of Chase’s anti- discrimination policies,” wrote the AGs.
JPMorgan Chase is one of six “too-large-to-fail” banks that have been slowly becoming “financial legislatures”.
“The major banks, financial management firms, and insurance companies are de facto deciding how we will be able to live. They are becoming our new legislatures,” said New Hampshire State Rep. J.D. Bernardy.
In January, mortgage-lending giant Wells Fargo announced it will only provide new home loans to minorities as the bank prepares to step back from the mortgage market. Whites who are existing Wells Fargo customers will also be eligible for mortgages.
Also in January, Wells Fargo suddenly closed the account of Brandon Wexler, a well-known gun dealer who had been with the bank for 25 years. The bank suggested it will no longer do business with firearms dealers when it told Wexler it was too “risky,” according to The Reload.
In 2020 Wells Fargo suddenly closed Republican Senate Candidate Lauren Witzke’s bank account without explanation.
“I think it is highly likely that within the next two years, you’re going to see financial institutions start to use a personalized social credit score of some kind to make decisions about things like your access to loans, your interest rate, or whether you’re eligible for insurance coverage,” said Heartland Institute Director Justin Haskins. “All the signs are pointing to that happening very soon,” he said.
Bank of America, of its own volition, decided to track its customers who may have been at the US Capitol on January 6 and report them to the FBI. Following the Capitol breach, payment processor Stripe stopped processing payments for Trump’s campaign and anyone who was at the Capitol that day.
In October, Bank of America also shut down the bank account of a popular conservative influencer and refused to provide an explanation.
American Legislative Exchange Council Chief Economist Jonathan Williams predicts that if enough progressive pressure is brought to bear on the financial system, it would mean “having people’s freedoms eroded without any legislation ever having to be passed, whether it’s companies with a radical take on ESG or FICO personal credit scores.”