Bankrupt people are being denied basic bank accounts
Going through bankruptcy isn't a particularly pleasant experience. I've witnessed first hand the woe it causes. So imagine a further smack in the chops after you've gone through all that when you try getting a bank account.
More and more people going are being denied access to a basic bank account while going through bankruptcy despite the fact that there's no legal reason why they shouldn't be allowed one, according to a Citizen's Advice report.
There are 17 banks that provide basic, no-credit accounts yet only 2 of these are willing to offer them to people who have recently been made bankrupt.
Not good news, especially in light of the fact that the number of people applying for bankruptcy has risen by 249% since the beginning of the century, says a report in the Guardian. The Called to Account report has found that being denied access to a bank account is both "demoralising and impractical", which of course, makes it incredibly difficult for people going through bankruptcy to make a fresh start and take control of their money.
Currently, there's only the Co-operative Bank and Barclays who offer basic bank accounts with Santander, Bank of Ireland, Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale, First Trust Bank, the LloydsTSB group, HSBC, NatWest, Northern Bank, RBS, Ulster Bank, Yorkshire Bank and the Nationwide building society not offering anything to bankrupts.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "Most people take having a bank account for granted, but without access to one basic tasks such as receiving wages or benefits and paying bills can become huge and costly obstacles to overcome, particularly for people who are often at a vulnerable point in their lives.
"The banks who exclude undischarged bankrupts say that they are concerned about potential liability. This just doesn't stack up – two banks that do offer these accounts have told us they experience no difficulties."
So where does this leave people? Well, those who can't access a bank account will invariably have to use the account of a friend or family member. If no-one is willing to let you use theirs, then chances are, no-one will be willing to give you a job if you don't have an account for your wages to be put into.
Hopefully, this report will put pressure on the abstaining banks and building societies to rectify this woeful state of affairs.