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Shooters not welcome as debanking continues

Research carried out by BASC has revealed sector-wide discrimination by a number of high street banks against shooting-related businesses

HSBC was one of the banks found to have refused to open or suddenly closed shooters' bank accounts

Debanking has become the discrimination that doesn’t just affect political mavericks, but ordinary shooters too. A comprehensive survey undertaken by BASC shows that Guns are facing discrimination from banks.

Responses from ordinary shooters, club members and shooting businesses showed that all types of shooters face being debanked, at what seems to be the whim of the bank. And it appears to be the major high street names that are the worst offenders, with Barclays, Lloyds, NatWest and HSBC all scoring highly among banks that either refuse to open or suddenly close shooters’ bank accounts.

Two-thirds (65%) of the respondents who had tried to open a bank account had difficulty in doing so, and over a third had accounts suddenly closed. In 57% of cases, the bank provided an explanation that it was ‘bank policy’ not to associate or work with anyone connected to firearms.

Shooting businesses were the worst affected, with access to conventional credit becoming increasingly difficult, and they also faced a higher risk of sudden closure (49%).

Dr Conor O’Gorman, BASC’s head of policy and campaigns, said: “Banks should not be arbitrarily shutting down business accounts or refusing to open accounts on a bank manager’s whim and with no explanation given. Shooting sports are a lawful activity and we should not be treated as potential criminals by the banking sector.”

Ex-home secretary Priti Patel commented: “This is another example of where Britain’s banks are politically compromised. Banks need to get back to providing access to financial services and stay away from passing political judgement.”

A Barclays spokesman said that the company complied “with our legal and regulatory obligations” and it would “only withdraw banking services from an individual or business in exceptional circumstances”.

An HSBC spokesman said: “We comply with all legal and regulatory requirements. Decisions on customer accounts are always the subject of careful consideration and are never taken due to the legal, political or personal views of a customer.”

A NatWest spokesman added it provided “banking services to businesses, clubs and societies involved in shooting, subject to appropriate legal, licensing and due diligence requirements being met by the customer”. Lloyds is yet to comment.