Co-op Bank action: Write to your MP today

Campaign News | Saturday, 2 April 2016

In November 2015 the Co-operative Bank closed CSC’s bank account as a direct result of anti-Cuban US blockade policies.

The Bank admitted the threat of fines from the US Treasury Department for processing Cuba transactions was the root cause of this action. CSC believes that the British government should uphold Britain’s own sovereign laws above those of the US and take action to defend British companies and organisations that want to work with Cuba.

Please raise this issue with your MP and ask them to ask the government to:

-urge the Cooperative bank to end its discriminatory policies against organisations wishing to make banking transactions with Cuba including the Cuba Solidarity Campaign

-use existing UK antidote legislation to counteract the effects of the US extraterritorial blockade laws

- make urgent and robust representations to the relevant US authorities to cease the application of such illegal trade measures.

You can write in your own words, use the draft letter below, or download it here.

Co-operative Bank customers can also write directly to their bank by downloading a letter here.

Draft letter to your MP:

[Name and contact address]

Dear [insert name]

MP Co-operative bank and extraterritorial impact of US Cuba policies on British companies

I am writing to ask for your intervention in this important issue.

In November 2015 the Co-operative Bank closed the bank account of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign in the UK.

Following correspondence between the Co-operative Bank and its customers, Niall Booker, the bank’s Chief Executive, confirmed in writing on 22.12.16 that the closure was due to ‘risk’ arising from sanctions imposed by the United States government:

it is correct that the sanctions that are in place are those imposed by OFAC (the US Office of Foreign Assets Control)”. I believe that this decision is in breach of the UK’s 1996 Protection of Trading Interests Act.

US blockade policies against Cuba are extra territorial and are enforced by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). By adhering to US sanctions the Co-operative Bank is complying with US extraterritorial legislation which runs counter to the 1996 Protection of Trading Interests Act and similar EU legislation US extraterritorial sanctions are a direct threat to British trading interests with Cuba, and penalise British companies, organisations and individuals which work with the island.

In the light of this I am writing to ask you to take the following actions to protect British interests:

  • Raise this matter urgently with the British Government.
  • Contact the British Government to ask them to invoke the existing UK antidote legislation ‘Protection of Trading Interests Act’ passed in 1996 which penalises those companies which comply with US extraterritorial legislation over and above UK laws and is designed to ensure that British companies and individuals are not prevented from trading with Cuba in the future.
  • Contact the Co-operative Bank to ask that it ends its discriminatory policies against organisations wishing to make banking transactions with Cuba.

    I would also like to know the UK Government’s general position on the extraterritorial nature of the US legislation against Cuba and what steps are being taken to ensure British laws and interests are being protected?

More information on this matter can be found at Thank you in advance for taking the time to consider this letter. I look forward to your response

Yours sincerely,

[insert name]

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