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Please note that this briefing paper is no longer being updated but is kept here for readers seeking further detail. The most recent relevant briefing is Economic crime: The UK’s multi-billion pound problem.

This note gives practical guidance which Members may like to convey to constituents who find that their application for a bank account is refused.  More detail on the general legislative background and policy comment should also see standard note Money Laundering Regulations SN/BT/2592.

Opening a bank account has become harder rather than easier over the past few years as the banks have responded to fines in the $billions for money laundering failures from regulators.  This has come to be known as ‘de-risking’.

The main guidance comes from an international body – the Joint Money Laundering Service which is regularly updated.  This note reflects the 2014 guidance.

If individuals find that they are initially refused a bank account they should either try other banks or ask to speak to the branch (or higher) money laundering officer.

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