Fearful, cowardly banks freezing accounts of charities

Business banking news review: week ending 5 March 2015

British charities working in conflict zones are having their business bank accounts closed left and right thanks to fearful, and cowardly banking providers.

With fears of being implicated in possibly funding terrorism, financial service providers like HSBC and NatWest are ‘erring on the side of caution’ (read: acting in as cowardly manner as possible in order to cover their own arses) by closing and freezing any accounts that UK charities working in conflict zones hold. It’s a serious problem, according to the Overseas Development Institute; the think tank blames the Treasury for not providing proper guidance to these timorous banks on how they should be responding to anti-terrorism rules.

The ODI says that these banks are responding in ‘overly risk averse’ ways – also known as acting a bunch of snotty little children scared of their own shadows –  and it’s really affecting the abilities of charities to help in war-torn regions of the world. One charity actually had to forego more than £2 million in donations over the last year because a bank blocked its funds; the think tank wouldn’t name names due to anonymity.

It gets even worse, though. Not only are banks blocking or delaying funds coming in to the current accounts of these charities, they’re also interfering with the ability of these same charities to actually pay their aid workers living outside the country. This is absolutely egregious if you ask me; these brave souls are in harm’s way, possibly even getting shot at or chased about by terrorists and insurgents, yet they can’t even manage to get paid on time because banks at home can’t be arsed to stop jumping at shadows.

This of course says nothing about how those people in conflict zones, many of which rely on charitable contributions of food, water and other supplies from these charities, are going without – all whilst being shot at or chased about by terrorists and insurgents themselves.  It makes me absolutely livid to think that these cowardly, risk-averse banks are so bloody useless. If they spent half the time they spend covering their arses in actually trying to help people the world would be such a better place, don’t you think?

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