NatWest in crisis mode as shares fall 3% wiping £600m off bank's value as Nigel Farage calls the board to resign

Wednesday 26 July 10:23

NatWest has been thrown into crisis mode after its shares slumped 3% on Wednesday, wiping £600m off its stock market value.

It comes after the resignation of boss Dame Alison Rose in the early hours of this morning after she admitted discussing Mr Farage’s relationship with private bank Coutts, owned by NatWest Group, with a BBC journalist.

The crisis shows little sign of abating after Mr Farage called on the entire board of the bank to resign.

"Dame Alison Rose has gone," he said. "Others must follow. I hope that this serves as a warning to the banking industry.

"We need both cultural and legal changes to a system that has unfairly shut down many thousands of innocent people. I will do my best to be their voice."

Dame Alison is no longer a member of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s business council, No 10 has said after her resignation as NatWest’s chief executive.

Dame Alison announced her resignation after the night of activity that began late yesterday afternoon when the NatWest board announced said it had "full confidence" in her.

That came after she admitted being the source of a BBC story that wrongly alleged Mr Farage's bank account with Coutts was closed because he did not reach a required financial threshold.

Then in the early hours of this morning, the board revealed she would be stepping down.

It is being reported that sources close to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and No 10 said on Tuesday that the government had "significant concerns" over her leadership after she won the backing of the board.

Within minutes, it was reported the board was holding an urgent meeting, then NatWest Group chairman Sir Howard Davies said in a statement: "The Board and Alison Rose have agreed, by mutual consent, that she will step down as CEO of the NatWest Group. It is a sad moment."

"She has dedicated all her working life so far to NatWest and will leave many colleagues who respect and admire her."

Calls for Dame Alison to resign had been growing since she admitted being the source of a BBC story about Mr Farage's banking arrangements.

After the BBC's report on 4 July, Mr Farage served a subject access request on Coutts under the General Data Protection Regulation which gave it one month to disclose a copy of the data it held on him.

The bank subsequently provided Mr Farage with a 40-page document looking at his suitability as a customer including minutes from a meeting in November.

The document raised concerns he was "xenophobic and racist" and highlighted the reputational risk of having him as a client.

TalkTV presenter Nadine Dorries MP said Dame Alison's actions raised serious questions around the culture within Coutts.

"What other questionable behaviours, attitudes and practices lurk beneath the surface?" she asked.

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