Treasury Committee writes to FCA concerning frozen bank accounts
22 July 2021
The Chair of the Treasury Committee has today written to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with concerns about reports of the apparent unwarranted freezing of bank accounts for vulnerable customers.
The letter, addressed to the Chief Executive of the FCA, follows press reports that NatWest might have frozen the accounts of some customers on low incomes without good reason. Banks can freeze accounts for various reasons, including the suspicion of fraud or money laundering.
The Chair of the Committee, Rt. Hon. Mel Stride MP, asks whether the FCA believes this is a widespread problem across the banking sector, and how it can ensure that banks treat customers fairly in relation to the freezing of accounts.
Rt Hon. Mel Stride MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, said:
“Recent reports suggesting that banks might be freezing bank accounts without good reason are very concerning.
“The sudden freezing of accounts without explanation can have profound effects on peoples’ lives and the Committee is seeking urgent clarification on the extent of this issue. We are also seeking a better understanding of the role that artificial intelligence has in making these decisions, and whether this approach results in inappropriate bias.
“The Committee will monitor developments in this area closely, and we look forward to receiving the FCA’s response.”
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