Update Basic Bank Accounts – the Merton Way

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    🙄 Please note that this thread has been amended.

    I have received further clarification from the British Bankers Association.
    Following some enquiries to the British Bankers Association (BBA) from some Local Authorities I have clarified some issues they have raised. The issue of the Identity letter and its acceptance was discussed by the Money Laundering Advice Panel and not the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group. The members represent most of the High Street banks. The 2 groups were not the same.

    Secondly, they have said they have not agreed to a “special” scheme or agreement because it was not necessary. There is existing provision in the JMLSG Guidance for banks to accept an Identity Confirmation letter from Local Authorities…. in other words they have been able to accept a letter since January 2006 so this is nothing new as far as the guidance is concerned. They felt that there was no further discussion needed as the letter fell within their guidelines.

    So the upshot is…the JMLSG, the FSA and the MLAG all say that a letter confirming identity from a LA is enough. Wish we’d been told this last year – no other banks apart from Lloyds TSB seemed to know this and the FSA leaflet doesn’t mention an Identity Confirmation letter!! The British BAnkers Association acknowledged that not all banks may be aware of this and they feel that if we all use a template confirming identity then the BBA can go some way to making local branches aware of what we are doing. [i:ce057a34fd][b:ce057a34fd]Please note however, that any template we may produce does not have to be accepted by the banks – it is simply an item that MAY be acceptable.[/b:ce057a34fd][/i:ce057a34fd] 🙁

    However, [b:ce057a34fd]no-one has actually produced a template for the letter[/b:ce057a34fd]. Merton will be putting together a tool-kit and happy for other LA to use. Rather than all LAs producing the different wording for their own letters I am happy for our letter to be used as a template once we have tidied it up with the BBA recommendations.

    Finally, and the British Bankers Association will be interested in learning of difficulties LA customers are encountering. Please feel free to give me some feedback on your experiences.


    Original posting: Further to my posting under the Promotion of Basic Bank Accounts thread. I have had some significant news about access to BBAs.

    Some of you may know that Merton have secured an agreement with Lloyds TSB that we will verify ID and residency for the Lloyds Cash Account applications – cos we already do it for VF purposes… I believe this is unique to LAs – although I think Castlepoint have managed to get this agreement with Nat West in their area.

    I contacted the FSA and the British Bankers Association to ask for the contact details of the High Street Banks Head Offices. A lady called Claire Proctor brought up the scheme at their Money Laundering Steering Meeting and….

    [b:ce057a34fd]ALL the High Street Banks [/b:ce057a34fd]have agreed that they will accept the scheme – thus eliminating the need for claimants to produce evidence of ID and residency a second time when applying for a BBA – they only need to supply a letter saying an LA has checked it under the DWP Security Guidance. This offer is open to all LAs who comply with the Security Guidance (SAFE & VF). They are currently amending the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group Guidelines now. – see: http://www.jmlsg.org.uk/bba/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=754

    I will be doing some more work on the letter we have agreed with Lloyds TSB to make sure it includes the link to the Security Guidance and hope to make a template available for all LAs to use. One thing I do need to check is how the banks will be ensuring that our letters are genuine so any suggestions there will be gratefully received.

    I think this may slowly open up the High Streets to make it easier to access BBAs. As I have said – remember they cannot refuse to accept an application…its just getting the access that’s a problem!! If people can post on here EXACTLY what problems they are getting then I can approach the British Bankers Association directly and ask for potential solutions.



    As part of our LHA project, I went to a major high street bank to open one of their “basic bank accounts”, and I was informed the application would be sent away and dealt with clerically as the bank did not consider these accounts important. I also had to provide excessive proof of ID (passport and driving licence – how many claimants have all these?) and it took 4 weeks to get a response from that bank with an account number and sort code.

    Not exactly prompt !!


    Has anyone tried approaching Northern Rock?



    Suggested it but didn’t take it any further – not enough interest!


    (Where else can you get such wit at this time of the day?)


    Hopefully the recent decision to accept the letters as proof of ID will avoid any excessive requests. As to the length of time it takes to process the accounts – I agree. The banks all vary in their method of processing the applications. Some are in the branches and some are off site.

    I really would recommend that if you are having probs with banks who deal with postal applications you direct customers to one of the banks who deal with the applications at the local branch. I hate to push the Lloyds thing again but one of the things we are pleased with is that they open the account there and then in the branches – this is not just for us. It’s standard practice for all Cash Account customers.



    We’re hitting the high streets over the next couple of weeks and meeting all the banking providers in our area.

    Have you got any more information on the progress of bank’s acceptance of our verification procedures.

    Thanks, Nick


    🙂 Now available

    I have posted the toolkit to HB Info, London Council’s and DWP. Hopefully you will find it useful. Its a summary of our experiences together with some updates from around the UK and other LA experiences – whilst it is not a complete solution – you’ll have to work of that yourselves in the absence of any DWP lead but hopefully it is a starting point and if all of us work in the same way more or less then we’ll get there eventually.

    If any one wants the toolkit direct before they publish then please let me know.




    It will all be on the site shortly!

    Well done Rebecca.


    Thanks Peter


    Has anybody managed to put together a template that I can show to my local banks? I can’t find reference to this template anywhere else on hb info or the DWP! ❓


    Have a look in the library section on this site under the [b:3e290fe6da]Policy [/b:3e290fe6da]heading.

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