NatWest accused of dumping customers, leaving them unable to pay bills

The Guardian’s Rupert Jones ponders if RBS are currently conducting a ‘secret purge’ of customers who have links to countries it ‘doesn’t like the look of’.

With the bank refusing to say anything about any of these cases, it’s hard to avoid concluding that NatWest, and some other banks, are dumping customers they view as having links to countries about which they have concerns. This controversial practice is known in the industry as “de-risking”.

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Yeah, I find it, quite frankly, disgusting. There have been plenty of reports like this over the last few months, and I find it really hard to accept that banks just get away with it like this, but it’s really our government encouraging this sort of thing in the name of fighting money laundering, fraud and terrorism…

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RBS is a pretty rancid outfit, to be fair. There’s not much positive to say about them.

Summarily shutting accounts, forcing perfectly good businesses to the wall in the predetary persuit of profit, all of the nasty stuff that was going on leading to the last recession.

If ever there was a bank that deserved to fail.

They are far from alone in this, though. A bit of googleing shows almost all major banks seem to be doing this…

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I mean, they’re closing account based on automated risk algorithms aren’t they? Pretty sure under GDPR you can demand that they have a human process your personal information.

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Firstly, I have no real inside knowledge, nor a legal degree, but I don’t think so, for two reasons:

  1. while the decision may be “based on” an algorithm, my understanding is that its ultimately made by a human being. Thus outside the scope of that bit of GDPR, which deals with fully automated computer decisions.
  2. the GDPR isn’t the magic tool that lots of people think it is: there are loads of caveats and ways out for businesses, and it doesn’t fundamentally take away the right of a business to make their own choices. The “G” stands for “general” and that’s exactly what it is: a guide how you should behave when dealing with data in general. But when it come to specifics a lot is possible.
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I mean regardless I’m pretty sure they were given enough time to find another bank account. They could even use CASS and any failures of payments would be the banks liability.

The point is that they’re acting as judge, jury and executioner and refusing to share any form of ‘evidence’ with the defense council. The whole thing lacks due process.

For you or I setting up a new account may be trivial.

For many, it’s something you do once and stay put, without questioning what else is out there.

Most people don’t know what CASS is. Banks are intimidating and a bit of a mystery to the many.

Let’s not forget there are plenty of people who the banks are sniffy about in the first place.

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