NatWest CEO Admits to Inaccurate Story about Closure of Nigel Farage’s Bank Account
NatWest’s chief executive, Dame Alison Rose, has admitted to being the source of an inaccurate story about the closure of Nigel Farage’s bank account. In a discussion with a BBC journalist, Dame Alison discussed Farage’s relationship with private bank Coutts, which is owned by NatWest Group. She described her actions as a “serious error of judgment.”
Despite the admission, the NatWest board has expressed full confidence in Dame Alison as chief executive. However, the events will be taken into account when deciding her remuneration. Farage, on the other hand, has called for Dame Alison to step down, stating that her position is “totally untenable.”
Farage’s account closure was initially reported by the BBC, which inaccurately stated that it was due to him not meeting Coutts’s financial thresholds. However, documents obtained by Farage later revealed that his political beliefs and connections were part of the rationale for the closure. The BBC has since apologized for the report.
Dame Alison claimed that she believed it was public knowledge that Farage was a Coutts customer and had been offered a NatWest account. She confirmed these details to the BBC business editor, Simon Jack. However, she emphasized that she did not reveal any personal financial information about Farage.
She admitted that she left Jack with the impression that the decision to close Farage’s accounts was solely a commercial one. Dame Alison clarified that she had not seen the material behind Coutts’s decision and was not involved in the decision-making process.
Farage called for both Dame Alison and Coutts CEO Peter Flavel to take responsibility for de-banking him based on his political views. He also criticized Sir Howard Davies, chairman of NatWest Group, for failing in his governance responsibilities.
The NatWest board, however, expressed its belief that it is in the best interest of the bank’s shareholders and customers for Dame Alison to continue in her role. The board highlighted her outstanding leadership and the positive results achieved during her tenure.
A review into the closure of Farage’s accounts will be conducted by NatWest, and the findings will be made public. The banking regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, has raised concerns about the breach of customer confidentiality and expects an independent review to take place.
NatWest is currently 38.6% taxpayer-owned following state bailouts during the global financial crash.