British bank NatWest boss resigns after admitting being source of BBC story on former politician

British bank NatWest boss resigns after admitting being source of BBC story on former politician

Former UKIP chief Nigel Farage hails Alison Rose's resignation from NatWest but calls for complete overhaul of bank's board

By Aysu Bicer

LONDON (AA) — British banking group NatWest's first female chief executive resigned on Wednesday after admitting to being the source of a BBC story about acknowledging her error in discussing a former politician's association with the lender.

Nigel Farage, former head of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), hailed Alison Rose's resignation from NatWest as a step in the right direction, but has called for a complete overhaul of the bank's board.

He told the BBC that the entire board should step down, pointing to the importance of upholding customer privacy as a fundamental rule of banking.

The BBC had verified the information with a senior source, later confirmed to be Dame Alison herself, revealing personal financial details about Farage's accounts being closed by Coutts, a subsidiary of NatWest Group, due to falling below their wealth threshold.

NatWest Group Chairman Howard Davies said: "The board and Alison Rose have agreed, by mutual consent, that she will step down as CEO of the NatWest Group. It is a sad moment."

Commenting on the developments, financial services minister Andrew Griffith tweeted: "It is right that the NatWest CEO has resigned. This would never have happened if NatWest had not taken it upon itself to withdraw a bank account due to someone's lawful political views. That was and is always unacceptable.

"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," he added.

According to the British media, Griffith held a meeting with top executives from the country's leading banks on the importance of preserving legal freedom of expression for customers accessing banking services.

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