Co-op Bank closes Cuba Solidarity Campaign bank account
Morning Star | Friday, 27 November 2015 | Click here for original article
THE Co-op Bank has closed the accounts of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC), with activists warning yesterday that many more left-wing groups are being targeted.
The CSC account closures emerged after the Morning Star revealed that the bank has shut 20 accounts held by British Palestine support groups, including the national Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and charities which fund educational and other projects in Palestine.
CSC director Rob Miller said the closures were “no coincidence,” given the bank’s takeover by US-based hedge funds two years ago.
He told the Star: “It is exactly the same as they have done to PSC.
“It was done unilaterally. The national campaign has had all its accounts closed. We find it unethical and unacceptable.
“We have consulted lawyers and have not ruled out legal action.”
PSC officials have already launched court proceedings against the bank.
Two years ago the Co-op Bank faced financial collapse after a £1.5 billion “black hole” was discovered in its accounts.
The crisis was attributed to management failures, including the bank’s takeover of Britannia Building Society and its failed bid to acquire hundreds of NatWest bank branches.
Co-op Bank was bailed out by US hedge funds which became majority shareholders, costing the bank its mutual status.
Mr Miller believes that other organisations have also had their accounts closed by the Co-op Bank.
A bank spokesman denied any link between the US takeover and the dumping of the two organisations. A statement is expected later.
It said the accounts had been closed to meet “anti-money laundering obligations and manage the bank’s risk.”
The spokesman claimed: “This is part of our normal banking processes and is an area where the bank has made some changes recently to bring it into line with the industry generally.”
Dozens of campaign groups bank with the Co-op on principle because of its ethical investment credentials.