UK Bank NatWest Bars Businesses That Accept Crypto

The bank’s head of risk pointed to warnings by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

By Jeff Benson

In brief

  • NatWest’s head of risk called cryptocurrencies “high risk” in a shareholder meeting.
  • The bank’s stance aligns with HSBC’s perspective on crypto.

UK commercial and retail bank NatWest will not accept corporate customers who deal in cryptocurrencies.

“We have no appetite for dealing with customers, whether taking them on as new clients or having an ongoing relationship with people, whose main business is backed by an exchange for cryptocurrencies or otherwise transacting in cryptocurrencies as their main activity,” said NatWest head of risk Morten Friis during a shareholder event today, as reported by The Guardian.

Friis indicated that the NatWest board, of which he is a member, is taking its cues from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, which earlier this year issued a warning to crypto customers that Bitcoin and other digital assets are risky investments.

NatWest is one of the largest banks in the UK. It’s part of the NatWest group, which includes the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The bank’s stance aligns somewhat with one recently taken by UK-based investment bank HSBC. The multinational firm recently removed the option to buy shares in cloud software company MicroStrategy from its retail stock trading platform; Bitcoin comprises 80% of MicroStrategy’s holdings, making its stock reliant on crypto markets.

“HSBC has no appetite for direct exposure to virtual currencies and limited appetite to facilitate products or securities that derive their value from VCs (virtual currencies),” HSBC said earlier this month in a statement reminiscent of the one made by Friis.

Other big-name banks have started warming to crypto firms, however. In February, Bank of New York Mellon, which has $2 trillion in assets under management, announced it would start storing and managing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for its clients.

NatWest is clearly on the other side of the spectrum and is even indicating that individual customers may be required to go through extra financial crime checks if they hold cryptocurrency.

“We think of cryptocurrencies as high risk and we’re taking, for that reason, a cautious approach to this,” said Friis.



Linking Shareholders and Executives :Share Talk

If anyone reads this article found it useful, helpful? Then please subscribe or follow SHARE TALK on our Twitter page for future updates. Terms of Website Use All information is provided on an as-is basis. Where we allow Bloggers to publish articles on our platform please note these are not our opinions or views and we have no affiliation with the companies mentioned

Weekly Newsletter

Sign up to receive exclusive stock market content in your inbox, once a week.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.