Urgent calls to change financial regulations are growing as more people find themselves the victim of banking “cancel culture”, due to their political and social beliefs.
Reverend Richard Fothergill, a customer of Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) for 17 years, had his account closed days after writing to the bank to complain about its public messaging during Pride month.
“I wrote to them on their feedback portal making two points: one was ‘is this really a good use of your time, you’re not here for social engineering’ and [secondly] said I have serious ethical problems with the transsexual element, and the implications of broadcasting that to young children”.
In a letter he received last week, he said he was told his relationship with YBS had “irrevocably broken down” and that the company holds a “zero tolerance approach to discrimination”.
“They didn’t justify it – they said ‘your comments will not stand’. I think its fairly sinister and we’re in very dangerous water when banks can pick and choose who they’re going to do business with based on prejudicial whims”.
A spokesman for YBS said the company never closes savings accounts based on different opinions or beliefs, adding an account was only ever closed if a customer is “rude, abusive, violent or discriminates in any way”.
Toby Young, General Secretary of the Free Speech Union, said the withdrawal of banking services from people for purely political reasons is “a new and sinister form of cancel culture”.
In June, Barclays Bank was forced to pay over £20,000 compensation to Christian ministry groups, after closing their accounts due to pressure from LGBTQ+ groups, who were concerned about conversion therapy practices.