NatWest chief executive Dame Alison Rose has resigned after admitting to being the source of an inaccurate story about Nigel Farage’s bank account.
Her four-year tenure as chief executive has ended in ignominy over her admission that she had discussed Mr Farage’s bank details with a BBC journalist.
Mr Farage has told Sky News “the whole board needs to go” at NatWest following the resignation of Dame Alison.
The former Brexit campaigner said Howard Davies, the chairman of the NatWest Group, had continued to endorse Dame Alison even after it emerged she was the person who had leaked to the BBC.
“The first rule of banking is you have to obey client confidentiality. So they have made a complete and utter mess of this,” he told Sky News.
Mr Farage said he has not decided whether he will seek compensation and that the row over his account closure has “absorbed my life for many months”.
He added that a subject access request from the NatWest Group revealed his account was “commercially viable” and its closure was a “political decision”.
The former UKIP leader also said he hadn’t been able to open another bank account and claimed he has been turned down by 10 banks.
Mr Farage also claimed he has been “approached by literally thousands of people all over this country that have been unfairly closed down by NatWest”.
Downing Street agrees with Dame Alison’s decision to step down
Meanwhile, a Number 10 source has told Sky News the prime minister “was concerned about the unfolding situation” and that it is felt Dame Alison has “done the right thing in resigning”.
The source said: “Everyone would expect people in public life – whether that’s in a business leadership role or otherwise – to act responsibly and with integrity.”
Sir Howard said earlier the board and Dame Alison agreed by “mutual consent” that she would step down from her role.
He said it was a “sad moment” and that Dame Alison has “dedicated all her working life so far to NatWest”.
In a statement, Dame Alison said: “I remain immensely proud of the progress the bank has made in supporting people, families and business across the UK, and building the foundations for sustainable growth.
Image: Dame Alison had held her position as NatWest Group chief executive for four years “My NatWest colleagues are central to that success, and so I would like to personally thank them for all that they have done.”
The resignation was expected in the wake of briefings by Downing Street that she had lost the confidence of the prime minister and chancellor.
Their concerns were echoed by Mr Farage, who accused the management of Coutts bank – which is owned by NatWest – of a “serious breach” and called Dame Alison’s position “totally untenable”.
The story first came to light when the BBC inaccurately reported Mr Farage’s account was closed as he did not meet Coutts’s financial thresholds.
Documents obtained by Mr Farage subsequently showed his political beliefs and connections formed part of the rationale.
Mr Farage told Sky News he has written to Mr Flavell “three times” since his account was closed and had not even had the “courtesy of an acknowledgement”.
Dame Alison had said she believed it was public knowledge that Mr Farage was a customer of private bank Coutts and had been offered a NatWest account, and so confirmed these details to BBC business editor Simon Jack.
She later called her actions a “serious error of judgement” but reiterated that the bank saw the account closure as a commercial decision and that she was not part of the decision-making process.
On Monday, the BBC apologised for the report, following earlier apologies from both Coutts and Dame Alison.
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Coutts apologies to Nigel Farage Paul Thwaite, the current chief executive of the company’s commercial and institutional business, was announced as an interim chief executive, for an initial period of 12 months, pending regulatory approval.
The board said a process to appoint a permanent successor will take place in due course.
It comes as City minister Andrew Griffith is expected to meet with Britain’s largest banks and building societies on Wednesday morning to address concerns related to customers’ “lawful freedom of expression”.