NatWest CEO Alison Rose Resigns after Row Over Closing Nigel Farage's Account Due to Political Views

The CEO of NatWest, one of Britain's biggest banks, resigned on Wednesday after saying she committed as 'serious error of judgment' by discussing with a BBC reporter the account details of a prominent right-wing personality.

Alison Rose, who served the state-backed lender for more than 30 years, will be replaced in the interim by Paul Thwaite, the current CEO of NatWest's commercial and institutional business.

Rose's resignation comes in the wake of the revelation by former Brexit party leader Nigel Farage that his account at a NatWest subsidiary was closed on account of his political view. Farage, who was a prominent Brexit campaigner and the leader of the Brexit party, is now political commentator.

NatWest Bank Wikimedia Commons

Role of BBC

Farage said in his show that his account at a major UK bank was closed due to his political views. Media reports later confirmed that the bank in question was Coutts, which is a NatWest subsidiary that serves wealthy people.

However, the BBC came up with a report soon after that Farage's account was closed due to commercial reasons. The outfit cited a senior NatWest official as its source. Farage was able to obtain a copy of NatWest's report that suggested the account was closed to Farage's political views.

This ran counter to the BBC story that said Farage's accounts were closed as he fell below the financial threshold needed for being a Coutts customer. On Monday, the BBC apologized to Farage for the story, and BBC's Business Editor Simon Jack said the original story was incomplete and inaccurate.

BBC, Business Editor Apolgise

There was intense speculation that Rose was the source of the BBC story. Rose ended speculation on Tuesday when she said she had discussed Farage's relationship with the bank with the BBC reporter. "Put simply, I was wrong to respond to any question raised by the BBC about this case. I want to extend my sincere apologies to Mr Farage for the personal hurt this has caused him and I have written to him today," Rose said.

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Farage immediately responded, saying Rose was unfit to run a bank. Following Rose's resignation, Farage said more executives at the bank should resign. "Others must follow ... I hope that this serves as a warning to the banking industry," Farage said on X platform. He reiterated that his fight against NatWest was part of his efforts to speak up for other people whose accounts were shut by the bank due to their political views.

Lesson for Banking Sector

UK government officials and the Opposition welcomed Rose's resignation. "I hope the whole financial sector learns from this incident. Its role is to serve customers well and fairly - not to tell them how or what to think," said financial services minister Andrew Griffith.

"I made a serious error of judgment in discussing Mr Farage's relationship with the bank," Rose said in her statement announcing resignation.