HSBC have faced a backlash from some customers who were denied the ability to withdraw large sums of their own money from their bank account without valid explanation and evidence on why they wanted to do this. HSBC stated that this was because of a change in policy but failed to tell this to their customers.
One customer going by the name of Peter went to withdraw £10,000 in cash from HSBC for travelling and to give some to his sons; he called HSBC a day prior to his withdrawal with everything seeming to go ahead as normal. However the following day he was called by his local branch which asked him for booking receipts for the trips he wanted to go on, which Peter did not have; they also asked him to make a bank payment to his sons rather than withdraw cash to pay them. The day after this Peter again called HSBC who then agreed that he could withdraw the full £10,000 following an examination of his account.
Another customer, Stephen Cotton also faced difficulty in withdrawing larger sums of cash, in this case from an instant access savings account. He tried to withdraw £7,000 to pay back his mother on a loan. Stephen Cotton told Money Box: “When we presented them with the withdrawal slip, they declined to give us the money because we could not provide them with a satisfactory explanation for what the money was for. They wanted a letter from the person involved.”
After receiving customer opinions on the matter, HSBC declared that they were going to change the policy: “We are immediately updating guidance to our customer facing staff to reiterate that it is not mandatory for customers to provide documentary evidence for large cash withdrawals, and on its own, failure to show evidence is not a reason to refuse a withdrawal.”
Clacton’s Conservative MP, Douglas Carswell stated that “All these regulations which have been imposed on banks allow enormous interpretation. It basically infantilises the customer. In a sense your money becomes pocket money and the bank becomes your parent.”