92-year-old windrush pensioner among hundreds of NatWest bank accounts

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92-year-old windrush pensioner among hundreds of NatWest bank accounts

The Independent has named a 92-year-old windrush pensioner among hundreds of NatWest bank account holders living overseas to have their accounts axed.

Philip Cato, who lived in Britain for over 50 years but has since retired to Jamaica, was not able to access his UK state pension for seven months due to the shut down in January this year.

The 82-year-old wife and their family were impacted by the stressful situation, who found it impossible to get help from the bank to recover the millions of pounds it had withheld.

Following intervention from a solicitor, NatWest was forced to hand over his backdated pension two weeks ago.

The former Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage, said his bank account was unfairly shut down by a private bank Coutts, owned by NatWest Group, because it did not agree with his political views. The row triggered an outcry and led to the resignation of NatWest's chairman, Dame Alison Rose.

Are you a resident of the UK and are you affected by Brexit bank account closures? NatWest said it had pulled the plug on some overseas personal accounts in favor of a business approach.

However, customers said they had been left without sufficient warning of the closings or inadequate support on how to access their money, with Cato's lawyer saying she believed hundreds of customers had been affected.

NatWest said re doing so as we focus on investing in and providing great services for those customers in our core market.

Having migrated to Britain from Jamaica in the 1960s, Cato lived and worked in Britain for 50 years until his retirement, holding a NatWest account.

Between 1948 and 1972, Cato came to Britain with more than half a million Caribbean migrants to restore the country after the Second World War.

NatWest said it had given him six months' notice of its intent to close his account, having written to his Jamaican address in July 2022. The pensioner didn't receive the correspondence until December 2022, but the account was closed the following month due to various delays.

NatWest declined to say how many customers were affected, which countries were being targeted and how it made the decisions, but said it did not apply to all countries where customers live abroad.

The Independent is aware of several cases of overseas pensioners being affected by abrupt closures, including in Jamaica and Barbados.

Pauline Campbell, the lawyer for Cato, said his bank records would have clearly shown he was a 91-year-old man when NatWest threatened the closure, yet 'no consideration was made for how difficult it would be for him to navigate the closure of an account into which his state and private pension was paid.

Banks may set their own requirements on country of residence for account holders and must comply with local law and regulation when serving customers outside the UK, Ms Campbell said.