NatWest holds off charging charities for next 12 months

NATWEST has rowed back on plans to introduce bank charges for charity accounts – for the next 12 months.

Peter Rose, the head of the AGC vice-chairman of the Association of Guernsey Charities, has welcomed the move by NatWest to delay charging charities but said the association would have preferred for the bank to have shifted away from charging charities at all. (Picture By Peter Frankland29552987)
Peter Rose, the head of the AGC vice-chairman of the Association of Guernsey Charities, has welcomed the move by NatWest to delay charging charities but said the association would have preferred for the bank to have shifted away from charging charities at all. (Picture By Peter Frankland29552987)

The bank announced four weeks ago that it would introduce a monthly £10 charge for non-personal customers and £2.50 charges for every non-automated transaction.

The Association of Guernsey Charities called the move ‘mean-spirited’ and said it would take some £20,000 a year away from local good causes.

But NatWest has now announced it is suspending the introduction of fees for manual banking services for charities, clubs and societies until May 2022.

‘We are committed to supporting every customer as they adjust to using digital banking services.

‘The majority of our customers have made the transition but a minority have told us they need more time to get there as they emerge from the pandemic,’ said a spokeswoman.

‘We will work with those customers and their associations to help them do this. Across our jurisdictions the governments have wide strategies for digital adoption and we are committed to supporting them, but recognise the need to balance technological adoption with the capacity of society and people to adjust.’

AGC vice-chairman Peter Rose welcomed the move, but said the association would have preferred for the bank to have shifted away from charging charities at all.

‘I am very pleased they are pulling back to give us some breathing space,’ he said.

‘The charities I have spoken with have been leaving NatWest in their droves, but it can take three or four months to move an account.’

Mr Rose estimated that some 120 local charities banked with NatWest and at least a third had told him they were now planning to switch banks.

He said he believed the bank’s change of heart may have followed pressure from the Isle of Man, where the vast majority of charities bank with a NatWest subsidiary and there was a significant adverse reaction to the proposed change.

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