On 10 August 2023, the FCA published a letter, addressed to banks and building societies, requesting information on account closures.
The letter follows the FCA’s letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer concerning freedom of expression and the provision of banking services.
In recent years, the FCA has seen a significant increase in the number of bank accounts being closed. This may reflect increased monitoring by firms to tackle financial crime, including fraud. However, it is less clear the extent to which banks may be terminating accounts for other reasons, which may be unjustified. Furthermore, the FCA is aware that there are individuals and certain types of businesses that remain underserved by banks where they find it difficult to open payment accounts. Henceforth, it is important that the FCA understands the scale of the issue and the drivers behind them.
In its letter, the FCA requests the following information:
- The number of personal and business accounts the bank or building society holds, and the number of accounts opened.
- The number of accounts either denied, suspended, or terminated.
- Reasons for accounts being denied, suspended, or terminated.
- Breakdown of complaints.
- Breakdown of customer groups.
- Policies and procedures.
The FCA request that this data is submitted in electronic form no later than 25 August 2023.