Not really a bad guess considering the situation. In pretty much all similar cases (miscarriage of justice, etc) the odds are stacked against the victim.
The incentives are obvious - they’ll lose customers if they freeze accounts that they shouldn’t & the regulator will punish them.
But do you have evidence? I know you say that, but why should I take your words over mine? The incentives of erring on the side of caution are also obvious (penalties)
undoubtedly true. But can you provide evidence that this impacts their bottom line? In other words: Where is the evidence that keeping an account that carries a significant risk for the bank outweighs the loss of revenue from that customer?
Do you have evidence of this? I haven’t heard of a single instance of that happening.
In summary: I think we can both agree that there are conflicting incentives for the bank: On the one hand to be cautious and not freeze accounts unnecessarily, on the other hand to rather “freeze first, and ask questions later”. But if you ask for evidence, then the question is: Do you have evidence of the one incentive trumping the other?
The best evidence I can offer for one incentive trumping the other is
No. But I’m not slinging mud based on guesses. And I didn’t say that one incentive does trump the other.
Ok so it’s a guess based on no solid evidence, fair enough.
This is a valuable discussion, thank you to everyone that has contributed
With regards to the questions around what recourse customers have, I think it’s important to note that the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) are very keen that all banks treat customers fairly in every aspect of the journey. This extends to all aspects of banking
Additionally, anyone is able to make a complaint; regardless of their status as a customer with us - or if they are even a customer at all! This is then investigated, following FCA guidelines, leading to an outcome. If the complaint is not upheld, the customer is then able to take this to FOS (the Financial Ombudsman Service).
I hope that makes this a little clearer
Additionally, anyone is able to make a complaint; regardless of their status as a customer with us - or if they are even a customer at all! This is then investigated, following FCA guidelines leading to an outcome. If the complaint is not upheld, the customer is then able to take this to FOS (the Financial Ombudsman Service).
How “legacy” is the FOS process?
Does it involve physical paperwork, phone calls, and monkeys pretending they don’t know what you’re talking about or that pass the blame to someone else? (as it’s common in complaints within the telecoms industry)
What timeframes are we talking about? Remember that we’re talking about someone who gets their main account frozen and is unable to pay bills, rent or buy food.
Finally, assuming the FOS complaint actually goes through (which is a big if, considering the above questions), what are the penalties for the bank should they wrongly freeze an account? A slap on the wrist?
This is all true and good. But it doesn’t change the fact that innocent customers may have no access to any money for many weeks, because case law shows that money laundering concerns trump personal needs.
Again: I’m not blaming the bank. I’m just very strongly against government policy here!
Well, at the very least you cannot even begin to contact FOS until either you have exhausted the complaints procedure of your bank, or been around 3 weeks (not sure on the exact timeframe) without contact from them. If you don’t have cash that’s enough time to quite literally starve … (yes, I know: there are soup ktichens and friends, and you can always beg, so hopefully noone is ever going to actually starve …)
you have exhausted the complaints procedure of your bank, or been around 3 weeks
I remember reading somewhere the timeframe for complaint replies at is 5 days, and that’s assuming is acting in good faith. If the company does not want to cooperate (as it’s common in telecoms again, where your complaints mysteriously disappear), we’re looking at around 3 weeks to escalate to the FOS, and even then, the FOS will not reply immediately and will take another few weeks if not months to investigate, and in the meantime you’re still stuck without access to your money.
Whoever finds this acceptable and actually defends this nonsense, I am not sure what world they’re living in.
If you don’t have cash that’s enough time to quite literally starve
Starving wouldn’t really be an issue, but paying rent or mortgages might be. Personally for me it would be quite tough to borrow a few month’s worth of London-grade rent from my friends.
Keep in mind that this is likely “normal” complaints. If an account was frozen due to AML concerns, then they couldn’t possibly deal with your complaint until the crime department has gotten the clearance to un-freeze your account. So I don’t think complaints will really get you anywhere, while your account is frozen.
I don’t believe this is something that happens at Monzo
It’s not under your control how long it takes. It’s the NCA that controls the timescales.
Again, what’s this based on?
What do you mean?
I mean how do you know that?
Are you just trying to be difficult? Google Suspicious Activity Report. It’s been linked to before, and I pointed you personally to that link twice already.
Where did you see this specifically?
Alright, here is your source:
I hope UK legistlation satisfies your stringent source requirements for statements from anyone but yourself?!
To summarise (and simplify):
The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) requires that a bank that has suspicions about funds must notify the National Crime Agency (NCA). This is called Suspicious Activity Report (SAR). Once an SAR has been submitted the bank essentially must freeze your account without telling you why, and cannot release the funds until the NCA has given them the OK.
Hence my conclusion that the NCA controls the timescales.
If you don’t believe me or wish to know all the nitty-gritty details I invite you to read the Act linked above, as well as the government guidelines on the matter.
Thanks. Does the bank have to submit an SAR as soon as they have suspicions though or not? In other words, if a customer’s account has been frozen, has an SAR been submitted?
I expect Monzo does their own investigation first. As the name implies, these reports would be submitted once suspicious activity has been confirmed. In which case, they would have control over the timescale, until they submit an SAR. So if they don’t submit one because their investigation clears the user whose account has been frozen, the funds could be released sooner.