A happy user#
I joined Monzo in 2016.
Ex-Monzo user 4956.
I even interviewed with Tom Blomfield, former CEO of Monzo in 2014 when he was still with Anne Boden, former CEO of Starling.
I’ve been a satisfied Monzo user for a lot of time.
I was part of their beta program.
I invited friends and members of my family, because I was genuinely happy with Monzo. Talk about Net Promoter Score.
I had an ISA with them, a joint account.
And now I’m no longer a client.
Over the summer there was a case with some politician complaining that his account had been closed by a bank part of Natwest.
That case was not Monzo related, so I must confess didn’t pay too much attention. KYC (the obligation of knowing your customer), AML (anti money laundering rules) and data protection are tricky. The processes are nuanced and banks are very limited in the kind of customers they can accept, and what the banks can and cannot say to the customer. This happen to many people and it is a major problem, but I assumed the bank was in the clear.
Then, the bank’s CEO had to resign because it turned out that it was true that the politician’s account closure had been (partially) because the politician’s views were “at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation”.
So I started paying attention.
Then Jeremy Hunt (Chancellor in the government and part of the conservative party) declared his application to a Monzo account had been rejected. Around the same time another politician on the right, an anti-Brexit campaigner got her account closed, and a third Tory politican and former Prime Minister Liz Truss mentioned she couldn’t campaign using Monzo.
In my view it is OK if Jeremy Hunt and Liz Truss were denied an account because they are what is called a Publicly Exposed Person. It requires more controls and Monzo might decide it is not worth it.
And it is possible that Gina Miller got his account closed because she didn’t declare her platform as a political party and when Monzo discovered it, they closed it.
And I am sure I have only noticed cases on the right but Monzo might have denied accounts to people in the left.
But. It was also possible that as in Natwest case, there are views accepted and views not accected by Monzo.
Then it came a paywalled piece in the Telegraph with some quotes in Monzo’s employees chat. Tories “could do the human race a favour” by leaving politics. They are “evil”.
And at that point it was clear which one of the two was: not AML and KYC but (as with Natwest) yet another instance of “inappropiate views”.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a lot of drama in company chats.
But comments like those should have triggered a private conversation between a manager, an employee and maybe even the compliance and HR departments. I
am pretty sure that if somebody in the team had mentioned the religion or the ehtnicity or the sexual orientation of a client or prospective client, that conversation would have happened that same evening. But if it is the opinions of a client… then it seems these actions are on brand (as an otherwise smart, nice, and sensible former Monzo employee said on Twitter).
Let me reiterate.
It is perfectly reasonable to refuse an account because of financial regulations. And data protection make it difficult for the bank to clarify.
But there is also the possibility that Monzo took those actions because (like with Natwest before) those views are “at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation”. Because those politicians shouldn’t be in politics. Because those politicians are “evil”.
Not about tories#
From Tuesday 12th September 2023, I’m no longer a Monzo client.
I’m sure if some employee (or ex-employee) reads this, they might think “your loss”.
It is in fact my loss. Monzo’s app is better, more rounded. Integration with other clients is seamless. I’ve lost a lot by switching banks (although on banking with others I’ve discovered some things that enjoy on those others compared to Monzo)
This post might also affect my prospects in the future.
But I want to appeal to everybody. Yes, you on the left as well.
Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true.
This is not about tories or other right wing politicians.
It is about you and me, and about leaving outside the system people we don’t agree with. And banking in a cashless society is the system.
This time it was right wing politicians.
But next time it might be left wing politicians.
Hi @NAB team,— Shane73⚡ (@TheShane73) September 12, 2023
I received a surprising letter today.
It says you are going to close my bank accounts in 45 days, effectively debanking me.
The only reason stated was, it was “in line with section 143 of the banking code”.
I looked up the stated banking code here:… pic.twitter.com/yG7XnLOWdD