Is your charity having issues opening a UK bank account?

10 January 2022

We have had increasing reports in recent months of members struggling to open new bank accounts, including at many of the UK’s biggest high street banks, with even the most reputable of charities having applications rejected. The SMP itself has had some of its own banking applications rejected since becoming a SCIO.

We are keen to establish how widespread this issue is for members and to better understand if this is a trend specific to those working with Malawi, or Africa, or if all small-medium sized charities are finding it harder to open new UK bank accounts, irrespective of their work.

The SMP has limited leverage to influence bank policies but we are keen to at least understand the extent of the issue and, if widespread and damaging, to work with others in the third sector to explore what possible options there are for raising awareness of the negative impact of such policies.

We find it deeply worrying that some of the UK’s largest banks, including those with significant degrees of public ownership, are potentially routinely rejecting smaller charities which work with Africa.

To share your own experience with us, please email Alan Laverock at