Is The Co-op Bank Unfairly Holding the Funds of Our Small Business?

We can reveal today that the Co-op bank, the bank in which we use for our business account, has been holding and denying us of our company funds for more than 70 days, for entirely baseless reasons. On the 3rd October 2023, we were given formal notification of the withdrawal of our account facilities with The Co-operative Bank p.l.c. We were then told we have 60 days from the date of the letter to make alternative banking arrangements. The letter proceeded to say that “After the 03/12/2023 you will no longer have the right to use the accounts.”  Today is the 15/12/2023 and the account is still not closed and funds still not released.

It is key for us to emphasise that no reasons for this sudden action were given to us, and when we enquired as to why on earth this had happened, we were told only this:

“Closure is due to changes in bank policy and criteria which means we can no longer provide you with banking facilities, you would need to make alternative banking arrangements, no further reason for the closure needs to be given, please refer to your terms and conditions.”

It has now been more than 70 days since we received this letter from the Co-op bank and we are still no closer to retrieving the six-figure sum they are withholding from our small business.

This initial email response we got from the bank was from the fraud department. This is implying some kind of fraudulent conduct on the part of this company, which is wholly untrue, but it appears we have no right of enquiry and to be heard.

Before we continue exposing the damage the bank has done to our small business, we must mention that we have been trading for 15 years successfully as a legitimate business, publishing regular articles and podcasts on scam companies and protecting people from them. Our accounts are up to date at Companies House and we have a digital footprint dating back to the commencement of our business. For the Co-op bank to insinuate that we are operating in an illegitimate way is completely baseless and frankly offensive.

The prolonged denial of access to funds by the Bank for over 70 days has inflicted immense reputational damage and significant financial loss upon our business. Despite repeated complaints to the Bank, their silence regarding the severe impact on our small business is concerning. The delay in completing investigations raises questions about why it’s taking so long to verify the legitimacy of transactions involving our bank accounts, affecting both current operations and new business prospects.

We have made multiple attempts to contact various senior and customer service team members including Nick Slape, the CEO, to not only try to get to the bottom of why our funds have been frozen, but also to ensure the release of them. However, we have been consistently stalled and told it is ‘being looked into’.

For a bank of this caliber, who’s motto is ‘Ethical then, now and always’, to operate in such an inept, unprofessional manner, is startling. The level of communication we have experienced from the Co-op bank is sub-par and needs looking into as a matter of urgency.

Though it is business as usual for us, we are still totally shocked by the bank’s actions, and have absolutely no idea why the bank has taken this course. We call on Nick Slape, the CEO of the Co-op bank, to take immediate action to rectify this situation, and to immediately release our funds.

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