The first British bank to be accused of debanking is Coutts, a private bank owned by the finance conglomerate NatWest. Coutts and NatWest were alleged to have closed the accounts and publicized personal information of conservative anti-European Union politician Nigel Farage due to his advocacy for Britain's exit from the E.U. and his support of many of the policies of former American President Donald Trump.
More recently, Barclays has also been accused of closing customer bank accounts, including the accounts of conservative Christian organizations and charities. (Related: Children now being denied bank accounts because of their parents' political involvement.)
From 2022 until now, at least 548 customers have complained to NatWest and Barclays about their accounts being closed.
Other big British banks like Lloyds, Santander, HSBC, Nationwide, TSB and Monzo have also been accused of shuttering dozens and sometimes more than a hundred accounts each from 2022 to 2023.
This situation is not unique to the United Kingdom. JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in America, has also faced recent allegations of political and religious discrimination.
In mid-May, Republican attorneys general from 19 states accused JPMorgan Chase of closing accounts and discriminating against customers.
The attorneys general claim that the bank had canceled the checking accounts of multiple major organizations and then forced them to answer screening questions focused on their views on religion and politics before reinstating them.
One of the major accounts "abruptly closed" by JPMorgan is the checking account of the National Committee for Religious Freedom, a pro-religious liberty non-profit. Before restoring the organization's account, JPMorgan demanded that it provide a list of its donors, a list of the political candidates it intended to support in upcoming elections and details of the criteria used to determine its support and endorsements.
"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 JPMorgan Chase's anti-discrimination policies," wrote the attorneys general. "Worse, it flies in the face of basic American values of fairness and equality."
"This discrimination is unacceptable," they concluded. "Chase must stop such behavior and align its business practices with the anti-discrimination policies that Chase proclaims."
The attorneys general also noted how JPMorgan Chase shut down the accounts of retired Gen. Michael Flynn, the pro-life organization the Family Council and the conservative organization Defense of Liberty.
"Sadly, what we're seeing now with NatWest and Barclays isn't surprising," warned Justin Haskins, director of the Socialism Research Center at the conservative, free-market think tank The Heartland Institute. "There is a mountain of evidence that shows many of America's largest and most powerful banks are discriminating against customers because of their ideological, social, cultural, religious or political views."
"Through various environmental, social and governance policies and frameworks, banks regularly choose to screen out customers who are deemed 'reputational risks' or considered part of industries disfavored by elites and their powerful institutions," Haskins added.
Learn more about the state of banking in the U.S. and around the world at FinanceRiot.com.
Watch this episode of the "Resistance Chicks" as they discuss Nigel Farage's reaction to the bank that canceled him.