Nigel Farage, the former leader of UKIP, has found a new banking partner after facing a slew of challenges with his previous accounts. Sky News has learned that Farage has opened several accounts with Lloyds Banking Group, the largest high street lender in Britain. This decision, approved by Lloyds executives, comes after a series of controversies that led to the departure of top banking officials and triggered regulatory investigations.
In an interview with Sky News, Farage confirmed the move and expressed his satisfaction, stating, “After being rejected by ten lenders, I am pleased to announce that Lloyds has welcomed me. It’s reassuring to see at least one high street bank isn’t influenced by political bias.”
This development precedes the conclusion of an independent review commissioned by NatWest, Farage’s previous bank, regarding the debanking scandal that unfolded during the summer. A report submitted by the City law firm Travers Smith to NatWest’s board revealed that Dame Alison Rose, the former NatWest boss, had to resign in July after Downing Street lost confidence in her due to her involvement in the scandal. She had apologized to Farage for an erroneous BBC story claiming his accounts were closed for commercial reasons. However, internal reports from the bank confirmed that Farage met the bank’s commercial criteria.
Farage initiated legal action against NatWest and filed a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office regarding the disclosure of his personal information. The debanking issue also led to the departure of other executives, including Peter Flavel, the CEO of Coutts, NatWest’s wealth management arm. Although Coutts had offered to keep Farage’s accounts open, his primary focus remained on seeking answers.
In response to the controversy, the Financial Conduct Authority conducted a review under Treasury orders. However, Farage criticized the review for not covering the period when his accounts were closed. Despite this, the Financial Conduct Authority concluded that there was no evidence of politicians being denied accounts due to their views.
Regarding Farage’s move to Lloyds, a spokesman for the bank declined to comment on customer relationships.
Farage’s shift to Lloyds signifies a significant step for him in resolving the challenges he faced with his banking facilities. The move comes after a series of setbacks and controversies, emphasizing the need for transparency and fair treatment in the banking industry.