Minister: we need to look again at bank account exclusion
Published 19 September 2012 by Matthew Plant
Up until Monday, there were two bank accounts open to undischarged bankrupts. Now, there's just one.
Undischarged bankrupts have little choice when it comes to bank accounts: even basic bank accounts are generally off limits to people in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings.
That explains why Consumer Minister Jo Swinson said it was "disappointing news" that the Co-op was no longer providing bank accounts for undischarged bankrupts.
As the BBC reports, the only bank that now offers bank accounts for undischarged bankrupts is Barclays - although Ms Swinson has said the Government will keep on talking to the banks about it.
On Monday, when the Co-op announced that its basic bank account would no longer be available to undischarged bankrupts, its managing director of retail banking, John Hughes, said, "Across the industry there has long been an unlevel playing field in the provision of basic bank accounts, with our bank doing far more than most, and we have been calling for some time for this to be addressed.
"Unfortunately it has now come to the stage where our disproportionate market share of the basic bank account market has continued to grow significantly, and regretfully, we now need to take steps to address this."
Ms Swinson said that: "This should be an opportunity for banks to look again at this issue and work with government to make some real progress."
A spokesperson for thinkmoney pointed out that basic bank accounts aren't the only option for people in the middle of bankruptcy. "The thinkmoney Current Account isn't a bank account - it's an alternative to a bank account, and anyone, including undischarged bankrupts, can apply for an account with us. They just need to prove that they're 18 or over and a UK resident."