Statement from the Nationwide

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When I wrote my first blog on the report of Nationwide’s problems with the new requirement on UK banks to disclose information to HM Revenue & Customs I referred to the Sunday Times article that first reported the story.

I caveated my comments with the statement:

what the Nationwide is saying …, if correctly reported (and I stress, I am assuming that is the case)

I did so for good reason; I assumed it at latest possible that the Times got their interpretation of what they’d been told wrong, although it had a ring of credibility to it for a great many reasons, not least being the background information given as to why the Nationwide could not comply.

But I did, as I noted yesterday, ask the Nationwide to comment. They promised me a statement, which arrived overnight (having seemingly been delayed heavily en route), which says:

Further to our conversation just now, I can confirm that the information provided to the Sunday Times was inaccurate. Nationwide has been in active discussion with HMRC and we are doing all we can to comply with their requirements.

From my enquiries I have established that the Revenue has requested details of offshore accounts where the customer has a UK address.

I am happy to post this correction, and have drawn attention to this in other blogs — whilst leaving them intact as they were written in good faith based on information the Nationwide admits it supplied.

I also note that the correction does not deny they will have problems in complying. And it does not deny that the request may extend to their Isle of Man subsidiary, on which I asked for specific comment.

My opinion now? That, as I was told by the Nationwide press office, someone in that building society did say what the Sunday Times reported, but that the Nationwide has now been panicked into delivering the resources needed to find the data — which will require them to refer to their Isle of Man subsidiary’s records for all the reasons I’ve noted. And if one bank does this, HM Revenue & Customs will require the same of all others.

We live in interesting times.