Fraser Nelson of the London Spectator did not believe it was true, so he checked it for himself by attempting to open an account and recording the conversation with the Royal Bank of Scotland that followed. Here is a transcript.
FN: Could you repeat the exact question again?
RBS: Is she a member of any political party, basically? (note: he was referring to my mother-in-law)
FN: I must admit I’m not entirely happy with answering that question. I don’t see what relevance it has to…
RBS: It is put upon us by the Financial Services Authority to try and omit any money laundering and things like that. It helps us crack down on fraudulent merchants by asking these types of questions.
FN: But I don’t understand why, say, if she is a member of the Conservative Party or Labour Party, that is related to fraud?
RBS These are questions thrust upon us by the Financial Services Authority, sir. It would be the same no matter where you apply for merchant services, the same question would be asked. It is legally binding.
And yet, I’ve heard progressives claim that bank nationalization is a good idea because it would make lending more fair, it would prevent “obscene” profit-taking, and, they claim, Alan Greenspan supports it.