Major banks discriminate against “immoral” gun dealer

Several high-street banks are refusing to do business with legitimate gun dealers and game farmers.

Archie Bell, a gun dealer from London, was asked to close his accounts with HSBC, after the bank claimed that his business was a “financial risk” despite his credit rating being good.

A member of staff at Mr Bell’s branch of HSBC, in Fulham, London, said that his gun dealing business was not considered “a moral company” and that it was “in the same league as pornography”.

HSBC apologised, but asked Mr Bell to close his accounts with them.

Several other banks then refused Mr Bell’s business, including NatWest and Metro.

A spokesperson from HSBC said: “We cannot go into the details of individual customers, however it is not HSBC’s policy to refuse financial services to licensed gun dealerships. We apologise for any misunderstanding in the conversations Mr Bell had with our branch staff.”

John Batley, of the Gun Trade Association (GTA), commented: “The GTA has been aware of this issue for some while and is actively dealing with various of the major, and other, banks on behalf of our members.”

Gundealers are not the only ones to be affected. Several small game farmers are being refused credit or overdraft extensions.

A game farmer from Norfolk told Shooting Times: “Several banks are refusing to do business with game farmers because of anti-fieldsports policies.”

As reported by Alasdair Mitchell in Shooting Times’ Sharpshooter, 26 December, the Co-op Bank opposes fieldsports and refuses to hold accounts for any fieldsports body.

BASC’s trade marketing officer, Lin Oxley, said Mr Bell’s experience was not isolated.

“There has been a trickle of complaints of banks refusing to take on new business with retailers offering gun sales,” she said.

“Lloyds TSB, which sponsored the Olympics, and offered BASC trade members a card processing deal up until last year, is adopting a very selective stance in the gun sector and say, ‘It is unlikely that any applications will be accepted for businesses within this sector’.”

She said BASC has a new deal for trade members in place for merchant banking with Barclaycard.

To find out more, contact Lin Oxley, email lin.oxley@basc.org.uk

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