British commercial and retail bank NatWest announced that it will not serve corporate clients related to cryptocurrencies due to the “high risks” of such transactions.
Morten Friis, head of risk management at the British bank NatWest, pointed out the “high risks” of cryptocurrencies during a shareholders’ meeting. He stated that the bank will not serve companies related to cryptocurrency transactions.
“We have no desire to work with clients, whether they are new companies or long-term ones, whose main business is supported by operations with cryptocurrencies,” said Friis.
He also noted that the board of NatWest, of which he is a member, is guided by the policies of the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Earlier this year, the FCA warned of the risks of investing in crypto assets. NatWest is one of the largest banks in the UK. He is part of the NatWest group along with Royal Bank of Scotland.
The bank’s position is somewhat similar to the initiative recently taken by the investment bank HSBC. In the first half of the month, HSBC Canada tightened its cryptocurrency policy. The bank now prohibits clients from buying shares of public companies that own bitcoin on HSBC Invest Direct accounts.
However, other big banks have begun to show sympathy for cryptocurrency firms. In February, Bank of New York Mellon opened a digital assets division and said it would develop a platform for managing cryptoassets. NatWest also stressed that it may require individual customers to undergo additional checks if they own cryptocurrency.
“We think of cryptocurrencies as a high risk and for this reason we are on the defensive,” Friis said.