How many UK banks will fall foul of this?

I am the attorney for a family member in England. That is to say, I hold an Lasting Power of Attorney explicitly executed by them last year.

The reasons one might give an LPA are explained here.  Setting up an LPA is an extremely sensible thing to do, and I commend it to anyone who is resident in England, Wales, Scotland or N. Ireland. (The law is rather different in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man). Registration of the LPA gives effect to the powers under it.

I attempted to open a savings account in the UK today for the benefit of the person whose registered LPA I hold.  In fact what happened was I came across a list of Best Buy savings rates and one of them was the Principality Building Society.

But the Society explicitly denied the application to open the ‘E-Saver 5’ account as their terms and conditions exclude people who, unable to operate an account themselves, have given an LPA to a trusted family member of friend. I was told I could open a different account, on a postal application, but that the terms and conditions of the account would be different (and the interest rates would, I expect, not be as good!)

Unfortunately for the Principality Building Society, and any other bank having a similar condition, it appears that this is unlawful. To be precise it seems to me to contravenes the UK’s Equality Act 2010 , since disability is a ‘protected characteristic’. It’s unlawful to offer services on different conditions to disabled people as to able bodied ones.

I telephoned the Society, and the first person I talked to seem to me to be a bit offhand. I then spoke to a manager who was courteous, but confirmed their position and seemed to indicate that it was introduced “because of FSA moneylaundering rules” which I find rather hard to understand.

However, they’ve taken note of my complaint, and are investigating. An update will be posted here.

If anyone else has been affected similarly, please feel free to contact me.

One Response to How many UK banks will fall foul of this?

  1. Nigel Roberts Friday, 20 April 2012 at 1505 #

    The Principality building society have been back to me. They have allowed me to open the account despite their T&Cs as an exception.

    They are still considering my complaint that the specific condition is unlawful discrimination.

    So they are taking it seriously, it seems.

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