Plaid Cymru MP slams HSBC for imposing charges on charities to keep accounts open
A Plaid Cymru MP has slammed HSBC for imposing charges on charities to keep their accounts open.
Liz Saville Roberts, who represents Dwyfor Meirionnydd, has written to the banking giant’s Chief Executive after it demanded more cash from local non-for-profit groups.
HSBC, which posted a global profit worth 6.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, has written to organisations in the constituency seeking monthly payments and fees to keep their accounts active.
Numerous organisations including Merched y Wawr and Rotari Dolgellau have called on the bank to overturn its decision.
In her letter to HSBC boss Noel Quinn, Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Liz Saville Roberts said that the bank’s decision will have an “adverse and far-reaching effect” on local organisations and non-for-profit groups.
She said: “I would like to point out the adverse and far-reaching impact of these proposed changes to many societies and non-for-profit groups in my constituency and beyond.
“I would like to know, what assessment has HSBC Bank made of the impact of the proposed changes on small and community-based organisations and what are your intentions of implementing such a policy?
“I call on you as a business to review the changes you outline for Community Accounts, and to take on and accept your social responsibility to communities here in Gwynedd and across the UK.”
A HSBC UK spokesperson said: “Over the years, we have made significant enhancements to our business banking proposition to meet the evolving needs of our customers.
“Recognising this investment, we will be increasing our charges in a way that more accurately reflects the ongoing costs associated with improving and maintaining a business bank account.
“We are committed to supporting UK charities and Not For Profits and are confident that our offer remains very competitive.”
‘Abandon the bank’
Dwyfor Meirionnydd Senedd member, Mabon ap Gwynfor warned HSBC that their customers may “abandon the bank” if the charges go ahead.
He said: “The pandemic has shown how important charities are to our communities, particularly here in Gwynedd. The same communities that have been abandoned by multi-billion pound businesses like HSBC.
“HSBC will boast to the world about how much they do for charity but when it comes to walking the walk they have shown their true colours. The communities they operate in and their customers are just there to be exploited to turn a quick buck.
“The world is changing just as rapidly as the banks abandoned the best interests of their customers. They may find themselves abandoned for good by those same customers.”
Elfed ap Gomer, the treasurer for Papur Bro Llygad y Dydd, said that the proposed charges would “create a substantial loss” for local organisations.
He said: “As you can imagine, the changes proposed by HSBC would create a substantial loss over time. The monthly fee alone is £60 a year, with loaded fees each time we use our account.
“If these changes go ahead it will be completely unsustainable for community groups and local charities to bank with HSBC. Banks have social responsibility like any other business. I urge HSBC to overturn their decision.”
HSBC will demand a £5.00 monthly charge per account for community groups, a 40p charge per cheque, and a fee of 1.5% to supply over-the-counter change.
The proposed changes will come into effect on November 1st 2021.