Economy , Newsline

U.K.’s Farage Delivers Big Blow to Woke Banking

Posted on Friday, August 18, 2023
by Neil Banerji

AMAC Exclusive – By Neil Banerji

Nigel Farage sitting down at a conference in 2014

A recent banking scandal in Britain centering on former U.K Independence Party leader Nigel Farage – one of the chief architects of Brexit – has reignited concerns about “de-banking” in the age of woke capitalism and cancel culture.

According to a report published by The Daily Mail late last month, Coutts, a 331-year-old British bank that has been long regarded for its selectivity and secrecy (it has served several successive generations of the Royal Family) attempted to “exit” Farage as a client because of his conservative views.

On July 4, the BBC initially reported that Coutts had shut Farage’s bank account for “falling below the wealth limit.” The source for the report was kept anonymous, indicating that it was someone inside the bank.

But a few weeks later, on July 19, Farage turned over a 40-page internal bank document to the Mail showing that Coutts actually closed his account because Farage’s views were “at odds with our position as an inclusive organization.”

The document, a briefing from the bank’s “reputational risk committee,” shows top executives at Coutts specifically acknowledging that Farage’s account did not fall below the minimum threshold limit – a revelation that sparked a retraction and apology from the BBC.

The briefing described Farage as a “disingenuous grifter” with “xenophobic, chauvinistic and racist views,” also making note of his close relationship with former President Donald Trump and opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine. At least 13 specific tweets were mentioned in the briefing, including one where Farage retweeted a Ricky Gervais sketch satirizing the transgender movement.

While admitting that Farage’s conduct with the bank was professional, the report stated, “These remarks are distasteful & appear increasingly out of touch with wider society.”

Although Farage is perhaps the most high-profile figure to date to be subjected to “de-banking,” he is hardly the only person to experience this particularly terrifying and tyrannical form of cancel culture.

In June 2021, Wells Fargo, one of the largest retail banks in the United States, closed the bank account of conservative Christian activist and vocal Donald Trump supporter Lauren Witzke without warning. Witzke announced in a Telegram post that she woke up to a $0.00 balance and the bank told her it would “mail her a check” – leaving her stranded during a trip to Florida with no way to pay her way home.

That same day, Wells Fargo also shut down the account of conservative commentator Peter D’Abrosca, calling it a “business decision.”

A few months later, in September, Chase Bank closed the account of former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Last year in Canada, banks froze the accounts of customers who donated to or supported the “Freedom Convoy” trucker protests. In one instance, a single mother was locked out of her bank account for donating $50 to the demonstrators.

In some cases, “de-banking” has even been undertaken at the behest of national governments. The Biden administration has pressured financial institutions to close the accounts of coal and oil companies. This effort is itself an apparent revival of the infamous Obama-era “Operation Choke Point,” which weaponized government agencies against industries deemed unsavory (such as gun-manufacturers) by threatening their banks with regulatory action if they did not drop the targeted businesses as clients.

However, Farage’s cancellation may have proven to be a bridge too far for woke corporatism.

In response to Coutts shutting down Farage’s account, conservatives and liberals alike in the British government immediately rallied to his support, recognizing the dangerous precedent Coutts was setting.

U.K. prime minister Rishi Sunak – hardly a Farage ally – tweeted, “This is wrong. No one should be barred from using basic services for their political views. Free speech is the cornerstone of our democracy.”

City Minister Andrew Griffith similarly argued, “It would be of serious concern if financial services were being denied to anyone exercising their right to lawful free speech. Businesses have the right to protect against real risks to their reputation — for example from criminal activity — but the privilege of a banking license in a democracy should imply a duty not to ‘debank’ simply because you don’t agree with someone’s views.”

U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the scandal “exposes the sinister nature of much of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion industry,” while Energy Secretary Grant Shapps, whom The Daily Mail notes has “clashed bitterly with Mr. Farage before,” called the incident a “disgrace.”

Amid mounting public pressure, the CEO of both Coutts and Coutts parent company NatWest Group resigned late last month. In a statement, former NatWest CEO Alison Rose admitted she had shared Farage’s personal information with a journalist and had “fallen below the bank’s high standards of personal service.”

Farage’s willingness to fight back resulted in a major blow to woke banking. If more high-profile figures – on both the left and the right – can show similar courage, cancel culture may soon be canceled itself.

Neil Banerji is a proud Las Vegas resident and former student at the University of Oxford. In his spare time, he enjoys reading Winston Churchill and Edmund Burke

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10 months ago

So why do people or organizations lie about what they are doing or cover their faces while doing it. The answer is simple. Because they know that what they are doing is WRONG!
Why don’t banks proudly proclaim that they are de-banking someone because they have “differing opinions”? And the answer is that the banks other customers would start to pull their business from them because what the bank did was flat out wrong. So, the banks hide it. Just like the thieves and rioters that cover their faces when they are committing their crimes.

10 months ago

In the USA there was a time when people of a certain race could not stay in some hotels or motels and couldn’t get served in some restaurants, especially in some areas of the country. But legislation has been enacted that changed changed all that. Before that, proprietors of restaurants could refuse to serve people because of their race. Why is it presently allowed that proprietors of banks (or other businesses) can refuse to serve customers based on their political views or their exercise of their right to freedom of speech (or the 2A) or that they answered their country’s call to serve in the administration of the country’s affairs?

10 months ago

Wells Fargo and Chase both have horrible reputations. I wonder how either stay in business.

10 months ago

It is Interesting Institution’s like this enjoy the Economic Benefits of operate in Our Democratic System and All Its Freedoms. Yet, when the Folks including their Own Customer Exercise their Democrat Freedoms. They go into Control Mode, opposite to Freedom!
Btw, shame on Wells Fargo for shutting US Militarily General Michael Flynn’s Bank Account. His only controversy is The Now Debunked Fake Russia Russia fiasco!

Jimmy P
Jimmy P
10 months ago

The Left destroys EVERYTHING they touch.

Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
10 months ago

any banker anywhere in the world that uses any criteria other then purely financial for any decision shoudl be force to sell all of their assets and give the money to people that were discriminating against.
Being “for” something automatically means you are against the inverse. IF YOU ARE FOR GAYS AND TRANS YOU ARE AGAINST RELIGIOUS AND HETEROSEXUAL LIFESTYLES.

Cindy Hayes
Cindy Hayes
9 months ago

He didn’t go far enough. He needs to sue both CEO’s personally (if there is an avenue to do so – at least for libel) and the bank for enough to financially teach them a lesson.
He then needs to take the compensation and open a legal fund for regular citizens they attack that don’t have the clout to fight back like Farage has.
I keep screaming this at the victims who win their lawsuits like the coach in Washington State who was fired for praying on the field. He just wanted his job and life back when he won that suit. I get it, but others aren’t as lucky, so when patriots can win their suits – bankrupt the abusers and use their money to help other victims.
That’s the real prize and solution.

Theresa Coughlin
Theresa Coughlin
9 months ago

sounds like the tyranny of operation chokepoint has not only been revived (which is bad enough) but it has also been exported. Any bank that engages in this should be sued and out of business.

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