I have just started working as a part time clerk and finance manager of a parish council and as such am a signatory to the council bank account and need online banking access.
The board’s bank accounts are with NatWest, where I have been a personal client for almost 40 years.
However, they went further by insisting on adding the board’s business accounts to my personal access, mixing counseling recipients with mine, and making my security codes the only way to access the board’s business accounts. advice.
Natwest told a client that his personal business account and that of his employer must be in the same place
They will also only accept one email address, so I either have to send the council’s bank emails to my personal email account or send my personal emails to the council’s email account, which doesn’t is not acceptable.
Seriously, is switching NatWest the only way I can separate my personal banking from my employer’s?
Grace Gausden, This is Money, responds: It has been a very frustrating experience for you.
When you joined the council, NatWest insisted that the parish business account be attached to yours with all the information available in the app and online.
As the only employee of the parish, you have been trying to separate the bank accounts for weeks.
You say that it is difficult to manage the two accounts in the same place so you contacted NatWest to find out why they could not be separated.
You pointed out many issues with having a business account and a personal account in the same place.
This includes the system open to abuse, as it would appear that any employee who is a personal customer of NatWest and who needs online access to their employer’s NatWest bank account must do so through their own personal ID, giving access to large sums of money.
You add that it wouldn’t be so bad if there were tabs in online banking for individuals and businesses, with everything separate, but when you log in on your phone or laptop, you see all of your accounts and advice together.
When you go to make a payment from the business account, the first choice it offers is to transfer money to your personal accounts. Also, no matter which account you are trying to pay from, everyone is mixed up in the payee list.
For example, your own HMRC beneficiary and the council’s HMRC are sitting next to each other and it would be very easy to pay the wrong one – leaving you or the council out of pocket.
A NatWest customer may be forced to change banks if two accounts cannot be separated
It also means that when you set up your work laptop, you must enter your personal banking information there in order to access the municipal business accounts.
As such, you called NatWest’s corporate banking department to request that your personal and board business accounts be segregated, but you were told that was not possible, as it is the only system that NatWest uses.
You say that you asked if you should have declared on the application form that you were not a customer of NatWest, but you were told that the bank would have found you on their system and linked the business account of any way.
NatWest indicated that the only option would be to remove online banking access for you from one of the accounts, so that you cannot use online banking for your personal needs or you cannot do your job.
Naturally, you don’t want to because you need online banking for both.
You immediately filed a formal complaint, but the complaints department simply told you that if you transfer your employer’s money to your own account, it was not the bank’s responsibility.
This is Money contacted NatWest to ask why it does not allow customers to separate accounts.
A NatWest spokesperson responds: Our online banking service is designed to display the personal and business accounts of our clients for easy and convenient use, and this functionality is clearly stated in the terms of service.
We understand that in instances where customers have authority over the community’s business accounts, they may need an alternative solution, and we are working with customers to provide this.
Grace Gausden, This is Money, adds: NatWest added that he doesn’t think there is a security issue in your case as you have authority over work and personal accounts.
Before a payment or transfer was confirmed, NatWest stated that there was an on-screen prompt to review the payment, so customers can correct any errors before finalizing a payment.
However, this remains open to error and, as previously stated, abuse of power.
As it stands, you have exhausted the NatWest complaints system and it is clear that the bank is firm in its position.
While one option is still available is to complain to the financial mediator, it will likely take months for a decision to be made – and a decision that may not even work in your favor.
As frustrating as it may be, it may seem that the only way to resolve this situation is for you or the ward to move banks and deposit your money elsewhere.
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on it, we can earn a small commission. This helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.