Helping the Unbanked Discussion - Should Banking become a Human Right?

Car parking financial crime. What about people who get their applications for an account refused for non criminal reasons. Do you think that’s fair in a digital age.

Barclays for example refuse a lot of people even with their basic account?

Do you think Banks should now be required to accept a customer now that we live in a very online world?

Do CIFAS markers only get issued once the NCA have informed you of a decision? Or can banks report people to CIFAS/National Hunter irrespective of the NCA decision.

I appreciate you might not be able to say, but this is the only part of the process I have issues with (and how much banks can say, but that’s a different matter for a different topic)

Banks can go to National Hunter themselves and add CIFAS themselves. Tesco Bank we’re one of the highest National Hunter reporting bank in 2016 I believe. Can’t remember where I read that but yeah. Staff make the choice sadly. They shouldn’t be able to do that

CIFAS markers are applied by the institution and don’t require a prosecution - and you can have a marker applied by lots of different bodies including insurance firms, banks and other financial institutions.

I know, but Dan suggests that they go to the NCA and at that point it’s all out of their hands.

I suspect banks can (and do) still issue CIFAS markers irrespective of an NCA report or it’s outcome, and that’s my main issue. A CIFAS marker should only be given upon conviction

NH and CIFAS are different things.

Staff at your car insurance can give you a CIFA bro. System is mashed

I don’t know what you mean by this?

I mean ignoring financial crime and looking at other reasons for people being bankless

I think that’s the biggest flaw of the current system. CIFAS/NH entries are what effectively bar people from banking access and they can be handed out without any proof or due process. All it takes is a trigger-happy employee

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This is the problem

AFAIK banks are required to review the marker before uploading to CIFAS and they’re required to have a review process in place.

I don’t disagree that it can be a punitive measure though. I think the problem is much higher than the banking system - and please this is most definitely my own opinion and doesn’t come from working at Monzo, but it feels like some of the measures employed by umbrella organisations are blunt instruments and that rather than looking to solve the real problems we just use a giant hammer and often across the system/industry there’s a complete lack of discretion.


@Dan5 Why don’t banks try to change this (from your personal perspective)?

The marker does more harm than good in most cases. Imagine being turned down for a current account because you made a mistake on a application and put the wrong income and ended up being loaded onto National Hunter. (By lost sale I mean refused mortgage at end of process)

Not really fair. I’ve heard of people who have lost a house sale due to CIFA and NH and they were non the wiser they were loaded onto it.

Consumers should be notified in their credit file if they are on National Hunter and CIFA

I think any private institution should be able to choose whether to accept a customer or not. They’re a private enterprise.

I’d argue that there is a role for a state owned bank - see Kiwi Bank for an example of that, but that’s not because I think it should be for the unbanked although it could certainly help play a role in that.

There are lots of different reasons somebody might be unbanked. They all require different solutions which often within the legislation as it is just isn’t possible.


It’s not possible because the poor sod doesn’t know why they can’t get an account anywhere.

Maybe banks should not be allowed to be “private” and should be required by law to behave like a public service?

Banks do, but they don’t wield some massive power which will persuade the government to change things and it’s very, very rare that all banks agree on the same things so the status quo remains.

In some industries it might be easier to find ways around the rules or to bend them, but the penalties which can be applied to both the institution and the employee mean that’s not just possible in banking.


It all boils down to the big suits at the end of the day. The systematic problems always start with politics.

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That information isn’t usually hidden. I don’t know about NH but anybody can write to CIFAS and request to see if there’s a marker against their name, what the marker is for and when it was applied. It should be easier, but a bank can’t write to a customer to say they’ve had a marker put on them because that would be tipping off.

But that only applies to a really small section of the population, other people are unbanked because they’re homeless, or have no fixed address, or no ID.

You can’t be private and be required to behave like a public service. You either are a public service, or you’re private.


See I see the politics a bit of an excuse. Banks can decide what they want to do and don’t want to do. They are their own entity.

I think it’s the banks that are in the wrong. They are the ones refusing customers for “uNdIsClOsEd ReASoNs”