Bank account frozen

BanksFrom time to time I am contacted by people who have found their bank account frozen by the bank without warning or explanation.  Perhaps the account holder discovers this when he attempts to use a debit card, draw cash from an ATM, use online banking, or visit his bank to pay money in or take it out.

What should the customer do and what can he expect to happen?


Contact the bank

The first thing to do is to contact the bank and ask for an explanation.  The bank might be rather evasive in response – perhaps referring to ‘technical difficulties’ – or the bank may refer the customer to a specialist department (such as the fraud department) – or the bank may hand over a pre-printed leaflet about money laundering.  But the bank are unlikely to provide a full explanation about what is happening or when the account will be unfrozen.

If the bank won’t tell the account holder what is going on the likelihood is that someone at the bank has flagged up the account for possible ‘money laundering’.  In other words someone at the bank (or the bank’s computer system) has noted what appears to be unusual activity on the account which might be connected to proceeds of some sort of crime.

If that is the case then it may be helpful if the customer very swiftly supplies to the bank further information, explanations and, if possible, documentary evidence in support of an innocent explanation for any unusual recent transactions.

The bank will not disclose which transactions have triggered their action or what suspicions they have, so the customer will be left guessing how he can best put the bank’s mind at rest.

But that further information needs to be supplied as quickly as possible, preferably the same day – delaying for a couple of days will probably be too long.


Inside the bank

What is happening inside the bank is probably that the customer’s account (or accounts) will have been referred to the bank’s anti-money laundering or anti-fraud department for consideration of whether a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) should be made to the National Crime Agency (NCA) by the bank’s Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO).

If the MLRO decides that there is a valid basis for a suspicion of money laundering (which is very widely defined) then an SAR will promptly be submitted to the NCA.  The SAR will ask the NCA to give consent for the bank to unfreeze the account.  Once that SAR is submitted matters will be largely out of the bank’s control – which means that nothing is likely to be achieved after that time by the customer supplying further information, or making a complaint, to the bank.

But the bank will not normally tell the customer whether it has made an SAR or when the SAR was submitted.

Once the bank has submitted an SAR to the NCA the account will remain frozen until either the NCA have replied to the bank authorising the bank to unfreeze the account, or the ‘notice period’ has elapsed without the bank receiving any response at all from the NCA.

The ‘notice period’ is seven working days starting from the day after the bank submits the SAR to the NCA.  So, for example, if the bank submitted an SAR on Thursday 9 June 2016 the ‘notice period’ would end on Monday 20 June.

In practice however the NCA aim to respond to these consent requests before the end of the ‘notice period’.

If the NCA require further time to consider the matter they will respond to the bank by refusing consent.  Once that happens the account will remain frozen until the ‘moratorium period’ expires.  The ‘moratorium period’ is 31 days starting with the day on which the bank receives refusal of consent from the NCA.

So, for example, if the bank receives refusal of consent on Thursday 16 June 2016 the last day of the ‘moratorium period’ will be Saturday 16 July.  The account should then be unfrozen on the next working day.

[UPDATE: The Criminal Finances Bill includes a proposal that would allow a court to extend the ‘moratorium period’ by up to a further six months (an additional 186 days).  This is not yet law.]

During the ‘moratorium period’ the NCA will continue to consider the position and may at any time give the bank consent to unfreeze the account.

If the NCA do not give consent then the bank should unfreeze the account once the ‘moratorium period’ has expired unless in the meantime the authorities have obtained a ‘restraint order’ from a Crown Court judge.

If a ‘restraint order’ has been obtained from a Crown Court judge then copies of that order are served promptly on the bank and on the customer (and perhaps also on others, such as the Land Registry).  A ‘restraint order’ will normally freeze all the assets of the customer indefinitely.  There is more information about ‘restraint orders’ HERE.

A customer who is served with a copy of a Crown Court ‘restraint order’ should seek advice from a solicitor experienced in such matters immediately.


What can the customer do?

The bank ‘s customer will not know whether the bank has submitted an SAR to the NCA, when the SAR was submitted, or what response has been received from the NCA, if any.

Because of this the customer will not know when the ‘notice period’ or the ‘moratorium period’ are due to expire.

Aside from very swiftly providing additional information and documents, as already mentioned, the customer will be able to do little more than check with the bank every day whether his account has been unfrozen.


What about the Banking Ombudsman?

In my experience the Banking Ombudsman does not intervene where the bank has a suspicion of money laundering and is acting in accordance with its Terms and Conditions.


How often are bank accounts frozen?

Figures published by the NCA indicate that they receive approximately 8,000 consent requests each year from banks, building societies and similar institutions.

The NCA on average respond to these consent requests in five working days – and give consent in about 90% of cases.  In about a further 5% of cases they give consent during the moratorium period.

However even where consent is granted the bank’s customer may become the subject of an investigation by the authorities (such as the police, HM Revenue and Customs or the Single Fraud Investigation Service).


What is the legal basis for this?

Most of the relevant law is to be found in Part 7, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 – particularly in s335 and s340.


How long will the account be frozen?

In the majority of cases the account should be unfrozen within about two weeks.  In a minority of cases the account will be frozen for up to about six weeks, perhaps slightly longer.

[UPDATE: The Criminal Finances Bill includes a proposal that would allow a court to extend the ‘moratorium period’ by up to a further six months (an additional 186 days) which would mean that an account could be frozen for up to about 32 weeks without a ‘restraint order’.  This is not yet law.]

Where a ‘restraint order’ is obtained the account will remain frozen after that.


What happens after the account is unfrozen?

After the account is unfrozen the bank’s relationship with the customer may return to normal or the bank may write to the customer asking him to close his account (or accounts) within 60 days and move to another bank.

The bank may not give any reason for requiring the customer to close his account.


Can the customer claim damages against the bank?

I am not aware of any cases in which bank customers have successfully claimed damages against their bank in relation to an account which has been frozen because of a reasonable suspicion of money laundering (even where, on investigation, no ‘money laundering’ was discovered).


Contacting us

Our contact details are here.


(Note: This article applies to matters arising under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in England and Wales.  Appropriate professional advice should be sought in each individual case.)

51 Responses to Bank account frozen
  1. Simon
    June 13, 2016 | 2:55 pm

    It should be noted that a lot of banks have changed their T&C’s stating that they will NOT be liable for losses caused by this OR any other account frozen activities (say for example where the bank has a software error, your account is frozen and then magically, it’s working again the following week without a reason from the bank).

    This can have a big effect in relation to mortgage/loan payments with external entities (i.e. other banks) where their terms and conditions penalize the borrower harshly if they miss a payment. A clear example of this is with Mortgage Express customers with mortgages managed by UKAR – one missed payment and the mortgage is lost.

  2. john
    June 30, 2016 | 2:52 pm

    My friends account has been frozen now for almost eight years without explanation. They are allowed £60 every week to live on! How can this be possible?

    • David Winch
      July 1, 2016 | 11:28 am

      Your friend should speak to his solicitor. No doubt he is subject to a ‘Restraint Order’ made in the Crown Court. As mentioned in the article a restraint order continues indefinitely.
      However it is possible to apply to the Crown Court to have a restraint order cancelled (lawyers say “discharged”) or amended – for example to increase the amount the subject is allowed to withdraw each week or to limit the restraint order to only certain assets.
      If your friend has not yet been charged with or convicted of any offence then he will have particularly strong grounds to have the restraint order discharged.
      There is more on restraint orders HERE.

  3. Tim Summers
    September 22, 2016 | 11:11 am

    I have been given 60 days to move my business accounts. The letter states ‘this is our final decision’ My completely legitimate business that maintains impeccable paper trail documentation moves large amounts of funds in and out of the accounts. Very little of this is cash but despite this it appears we are subject of an SAR with NO recourse to a defence. I experienced this before, about 8 years ago when Barclays withdrew over £120,000 with no notice and told me all banking with them, business and private, was terminated with immediate effect. It cost me around £10,000 in legal fees to get the business funds back and I had to move to a different bank with whom I have had zero problems since until today. My problem is that I now do not know which bank(s) will now consider my business. Are there any recommendations or lists of banks that are sympathetic to businesses that are fully legitimate but who have fallen foul of the SAR system? Any help would be appreciated by email. Thanks

    • David Winch
      September 22, 2016 | 11:21 am

      If you have been given 60 days to close your accounts, but your accounts have not been frozen, then I do not think you are the subject of a Suspicious Activity Report. It sounds as if the bank consider you to represent a higher than normal cost of monitoring & you are (from their point of view) not worth the trouble.

      I can only suggest you approach other banks & hope for the best.

  4. Nina
    September 26, 2016 | 1:55 pm

    My partner’s bank account has been frozen for over 6 months but he has not been served with a restraining order he has been interviewed by the NCA due to them investigating him for money laundering just wondered how the bank is still able to freeze his account without him having a restraining order


    • David Winch
      September 28, 2016 | 8:01 am


      I suggest your partner speaks to a solicitor who can write to the bank on his behalf.


  5. Nina
    October 1, 2016 | 12:21 pm

    We have a solicitor but I was just wondering if you Have a restraining order on you if you would defiantly be notified after 6 months of your account being frozen

    • David Winch
      October 1, 2016 | 5:55 pm

      If the Crown Court has issued a restraint order the persons subject to the order (such as your partner) should be notified almost immediately – within three working days at most.


  6. Ben
    October 3, 2016 | 11:13 pm

    Hello David my accounts with NatWest have been frozen since last Wednesday. I have tried all approaches to contact with branches, customer service, fraud team but no one could explain for me at all, does it mean they are highly likely doing a money laundring investigation on me? My cousin did transfer a lot of money to my account as she needed me to pay university tuition and accommodation for her before she comes to the UK ( she doesn’t speak English well so I needed to sort things out for her). Then my account just got frozen after 3 days she did a transfer to me. My accounts have been frozen for 4 workings now, my question is if I should pay for a lawyer now or it’s better to wait until the Notice Period and Moratorium Period expire?
    Thanks very much David!

    • David Winch
      October 4, 2016 | 8:35 am

      It is likely that your account has been reported within the bank due to a suspicion of money laundering. Was the money received from an account outside the UK? If so, it may take longer for enquiries to be completed & the account to be unfrozen.
      I do not think a lawyer could achieve anything for you at this time.
      If you have not already done so, please explain to the bank the reason for the transfer & the legitimate source of the money. After you have done that you just have to wait for a while.
      Good luck.

      • Ben
        October 4, 2016 | 9:09 pm

        Hello David, all the money I received was from the UK not outside of the UK. My cousin transferred to me and asked me to do things for her. She was in the U.K. and with NatWest Bank too.
        I called NatWest costumer service again and they still couldn’t tell me anything. What would you suggest me to do?

        Many Thanks again!

        • David Winch
          October 4, 2016 | 9:17 pm

          Have you told NatWest who paid the money into your account (your cousin), why she paid it to you and what you intended to do with it?


      • Ben
        October 4, 2016 | 9:43 pm

        He David I did try to exlain to the bank but basically they just don’t talk to me. They wouldn’t tell me anything and listen to me and I never received any letters too. I have not paid for a solicitor yet, I cannot do anything apart from thinking to find a solicitor. Did you say I may need to wait longer? Does it mean it may take longer than notice period and moratorium period?

        Thanks a lot


        • David Winch
          October 4, 2016 | 9:52 pm

          Don’t ask them anything – just tell them what you want to tell them (your explanation). Type it in a letter & get an extra copy. Take both copies into the bank & ask them to sign & stamp the copy (while you wait there) & give it back to you as confirmation they have received it.

          After you have done that all you can do is wait. You do not know when the bank submitted a report to the NCA. The initial period of seven working days starts with the first working day after that report is submitted by the bank.

          Check every day to see if your account has been unfrozen.


          • Ben
            October 5, 2016 | 11:10 pm

            Hello David
            thank you very much for your help. I did bring a letter to the branch. They would not take it. I think I will have to just wait? I submitted a complaint letter to NatWest and got a reply from them today. They still said they are not obliged to tell me anything. If I’m not happy with this I can make a complaint to FOS. Should I do that? Hopefully I can sort it out soon. I’m so frustrated at the moment.



          • David Winch
            October 15, 2016 | 8:47 pm

            I do not think a complaint to the FOS will achieve anything. The FOS will simply tell you that the bank are acting in accordance with the terms & conditions which apply to your account.


  7. Aamir
    October 15, 2016 | 6:59 pm

    Hi David,

    On 26th August 2016 bank Natwest froze my partners account with money it. We had kept some money on a side to extend our house while we were waiting for the planning permission to be granted. Soon we started the work and made first payment to the builders this happened. Since than we have been calling them but they keep saying call us next Friday. Shall we get in touch with a solicitor now or still wait? We do not even know which transaction they have doubts about so we could give them any sort of explanation.

    Many thanks David…


    • David Winch
      October 15, 2016 | 8:41 pm


      I would expect that within the next 7 days or so one of three things will happen. (1) The bank might unfreeze your account, probably with no explanation, and everything would simply return to normal. (2) The bank might unfreeze your account & then write to you giving you 60 days notice to withdraw your money & close your account with them, probably with little or no explanation. (3) You may receive a copy of a Crown Court order which will freeze your bank accounts, and probably your other assets, until further notice.

      If you receive a copy of a Crown Court order you should see a solicitor about it as it is possible to apply to the court to have the order relaxed or removed. It is possible that your accounts will remain frozen for months, or even years.

      If none of these three things have happened then I would suggest you see a solicitor in a week’s time.


  8. Mo
    October 27, 2016 | 8:54 pm


    Great article, really helped me understand what is happening to my account.

    My bank account has been frozen for about two days now, you talk about unusual activity as a possible reason for an account to be frozen, in my case my account has probably been frozen down to unusual activities.

    In order for me to challenge the bank regarding this how far do I go back with regards to unusual activity? my father transferred me £4000 a year ago do rustle about looking for these documents? or is it the £1000 I put into my account last week that has been flagged up as ”unusual activity” or was it the $700CAD I spent on my card last month whilst visiting Canada?

    I hope you can help me understand how far back (or not so far back) I need to go in order to prove my ”unusual activity” to the bank.

    Kind Regards,

    • David Winch
      October 28, 2016 | 5:46 pm


      It is more likely to be monies deposited in your account in the last few weeks which has concerned the bank.


  9. Daisy
    November 17, 2016 | 7:26 am

    Hello there,

    My three accounts have been frozen since 16th Oct. I have called the bank nod went to the branch, and I have been told to provide several documents. Basically they are suspecting one large transacation from China, which is my fund for my university and living in the U.K., and another seven transacations done by a rigistered converting company in the U.K. I paid them Chinese money from my Chinese bank account and they gave me sterling back, but they did it by putting the cash to my accounts by seven transacations. I have provided the confirmatation letter from the company claiming that they did the seven transacations. However they required further documents, such as the bank letter from my mom showing the resource of the money from my Chinese bank and also another letter from the company which needs to show all the details of the business between me and the converting company, such as date, exchange rate, and an explanation why they did it by cash instead of online transacations. I’m running out of my money and I’m worried because I do not think the bank will be satisfied by the letter from the company again. Also the company would be reluctant to provide so many details in case they get into trouble. WhT do you think I should do at this stage? I have not received any letter from the bank as well.

  10. David Winch
    November 26, 2016 | 1:12 pm

    I think the only thing to do is to provide the bank with as much documentary information as you can.

  11. john
    November 28, 2016 | 4:31 pm

    Hi David

    My account has been frozen since the 9th November without any explanation from the bank. i contact them everyday and they say there is a technical issue with my account.
    i have no access to my salary and payments cannot leave or enter my account.

    its been 3 weeks now do you advice that i contact a solicitor?

    • David Winch
      November 28, 2016 | 4:52 pm

      I do not think that a solicitor will be able to do anything useful for you. Presumably the bank have a suspicion of money laundering and have made a report to the National Crime Agency. The bank will not unfreeze your account until either the time limit for a freeze expires (which is typically about 6 or 7 weeks from when the account was frozen) or the NCA give consent for the account to be unfrozen.
      There is nothing useful you can do now except check every day to see if the bank account has been unfrozen. If the bank ask you for any information do supply it immediately – but they probably won’t ask.

  12. Lee
    November 29, 2016 | 2:15 pm

    Hi David

    My Dad was the Company Director and he died a few months ago. I took over as Director, but stupidly carried on using the bank account as the business needed the OD that was in place. Bank recently froze account after finding out, but knowing they were going to do it I transferred the credit balance to my own account. Personal account got frozen but this has now been sorted but £3500 was paid into company account (effectively my salary) a week after it got frozen. Bank keeps fobbing me off saying they will email me with what I need to take into branch in order to be a signatory but then not sending the email (said they’ve sent it but checked spam and its definitely not there) Ive also given them company email address. Not sure what to do next.

    • David Winch
      December 1, 2016 | 9:53 am

      If the bank account was in the name of the company & you were appointed a director of the company then there is nothing wrong in continuing to use the company account for company purposes. I do not understand why the bank froze the accounts.
      Are you saying that £3,500 has gone missing from the company bank account?

  13. Morris Matjie
    January 5, 2017 | 11:58 am

    Hi David,

    My business bank account was frozen because of my client. I was not notified of this activity before or after the account was frozen. My client and I made an agreement that I would assist her with academic research, writing and editing of her dissertation. She paid a first deposit in two separate installments (50% of overall project fee) and I commenced on her project. After I made 75% of her work, I submitted to her and she had to pay the second 50% in order for me to complete and submit to her. She made the last payment. When I left my city for another city for a few days, I forgot my company cellphone on a charger back in my office. I explained this to her in an email. But when she could not find me on my cellphone, she went to the bank to ask that my account be frozen because she “suspected fraud”. She never engaged me on email, even if she knew she could find me easily there.
    The bank froze my business bank account and has never notified me of the situation surrounding the freezing before or after they froze it. I was shocked when I tried to withdraw funds to find this is impossible. When I went into the nearest branch, they asked if I knew XXX XXX (name of my client) I explained I knew her and that I was doing work for her. The consultant said my client requested the freezing because of non-rendering of service despite the fact that I submitted at least 75% of the work promised to her (about 90 pages out of a total of 125). I explained this but the bank could not help me.
    I then got in touch with the bank’s fraud department to explain the situation. The fraud consultant asked me to call her from the nearest branch. I promised to get there within 30 minutes. When i got there I saw the branch manager and explained. The manager made a call to the number on which I reached the fraud consultant, but the phone just rang unanswered for more than 7 times.
    I got in touch with the client and asked her to remove the hold on my account. She allegedly went to the bank and they ordered her to make another affidavit to state reasons why she wanted the hold removed. She said she made the affidavit and presented it. But the account was not unfrozen nevertheless. I called the fraud department again and spoke to the consultant who placed the hold on my account. She said she received no affidavit from my client except the one stating why they must place the account on hold. I explained my client emailed me her second affidavit stating reasons why they have to remove the hold. The consultant asked me to email her the affidavit. I did and the account was unfrozen, after 6 days of headache and inconvenience.

    David, I want to know if I can sue my bank for this inconvenience and for improperly placing a hold on my business bank account. Why did the bank take my client’s claims for truth without contacting me for verification or at least for notifying me that my bank was placed on hold due to any of the reasons they stated? I want to know if they acted improperly and on what ground I can sue them.

    • David Winch
      February 21, 2017 | 11:47 am

      You need to discuss with a solicitor (I am an accountant) whether you can sue the bank. As mentioned in the article, I am not aware of any cases in which a bank has been successfully sued where there is a genuine suspicion of ‘money laundering’ and the bank has adhered to its terms and conditions.

  14. James
    January 6, 2017 | 5:47 pm

    Hi David,

    I requested a large cash withdrawal from my bank. They said at the time they did not have the funds available and would likely have them around 4 days later. I woke up the day before they were due to have them to find my account had been frozen.

    I went into the branch to find out why, they said they were awaiting on authorisation to proceed with the withdrawal (I believe this was just to keep me waiting longer about the fact they were looking into my account). I trade on behalf of clients and had large investments come in recently and after I thought the bank may have been suspicious and blocked my account I went down with a rake of transaction history and authorisation (with signatures) from investors for these purposes and had the bank stamp them. I only have a select number of investors around 4 currently and have funds coming in from the US and Australia.

    It has now been around 2 weeks since I provided documentation (without them asking) and I still have no update from the bank. It is the only bank account I have with any significant money in it and I am finding these times hard providing for my partner and two kids. How long will my account remain frozen for and what may be generally happening here?


    • James
      January 12, 2017 | 5:46 pm

      Update, bank have said I can make a withdrawal next week and have scheduled a time to come in. However my account remains frozen and they said they will unfreeze it and everything after the withdrawal, which I found strange. The bank said they are finished looking into my account..

  15. Matthew Wonder
    January 19, 2017 | 6:10 pm

    I have a personal multi currency account with Nat West Jersey.
    They froze the account on 19 th December, but I did not find out about it until 16 th Jan. I called the bank, they asked me about some large deposits 27K and 47 K Euro. I explained what they were for.
    They said my account would be unblocked the next day
    It wasn’t they called me to ask for passport copy
    I said ok no problem – some of the money was from work in Iran, they asked me a lot of questions about this. Especially if I had “Utalized any of my own funds in Iran. I had not I was working for a German company and got paid from a German company and they paid all my in country expenses. I think the Ziran thing has made things much more complicated. Now they want a copy of my passport certified by a lawyer who they can and will contact to verify and they also want original copies of utility bills. Now I am abroad on business and cannot easily supply this stuff. However they did ask me for all this stuff about 2 years ago. They have asked me by email am I using my account for business. It is not a business account.
    After reading your posts I think I had better tell them I am. I mean it’s obvious and they never cared before. I have loads of money in there and I need access to it. All my bills are paid from the accounts including my mortgage, also with Nat West.
    Compared with some posts I have read the bank are being helpful, I have had an account with them for over 20 years.

  16. Felix Okenarhe
    January 21, 2017 | 7:11 am

    Hi David, my account has been frozen for 3months with no explanation from Santander after £5000 was deposited and a transfer of 2K. I have provided all evidence including the account statement of the transfer attached with drivers license of the sender all in the UK but still no explanation no court order nothing. In the midst of the this, my international scholarship fund of £2400 was paid into the frozen account and again, I got letters from my sponsors, Telex copy for the transaction and still it is frozen.

    On the 3rd of Jan, with no prior notice, I was informed that my account was closed and a written letter from the bank that they are no longer convienient with me being their customer. I should go to the bank and return my card and make arrangement to retrieve my funds £9400. Upon getting there my card was destroyed and I was asked to return home and in 7 – 10 working days they will post me my cheque. After the period no cheque and I called and was instructed to go the bank with prof of Id to collect my funds. On getting to the bank, they told me they call the security team and no such info and they will write to me in due course with no time frame.

    I told them my student Visa expires in 10days and I need my money to buy ticket for me and my family out of the country. After I called the team that ask me to go the bank and they spoke with the branch officials, my ID was scanned and I was how I would like to collect my money. I told them a transfer but to my surprise after 10mins they came back and said they are sorry they have to decline my request based on instructions and they will contact me. My Visa expires on the 30th of Jan 2017, I don’t have a dime to remove my belongings, I owe money and relied on the bank information that they will post my funds in 7 – 10 working days and now they have given me no clear date or information.

    I believe if investigations not concluded my account will not be closed. How can they close my account after freezing it for 3months, destroy my card and refuse to me give my money. I have not been served with any court order nor invited for questioning, yet I have provided evidence of all the source of the money.

    My blood pressure is high, my Daughter has Sickle cell how can I return back to Africa with no money. I have read so many reviews and my case is different. Please I need an advice thanks.

  17. Chris
    January 30, 2017 | 5:59 pm

    Hi David,

    After your advice. I have had my bank accounts put on 60 day notice. I have tried going through the account closure team and got no where and awaiting a final response. I don’t believe any Fraud on account and my credit report is clean. I have been with bank a number of years but was interested if you heard of cases that they may just shut the account as it is used quite heavily. I have a few BTL with mortgages/rent going in and out etc and wonder if they think commercially this may seem a lot. Really finding it very strange as nothing suspicious on account or ever flagged.


    • David Winch
      February 21, 2017 | 11:52 am

      Normally the bank’s standard terms and conditions will allow them to close the account on 60 days notice.

  18. Andrew
    February 13, 2017 | 8:31 pm

    Hi my bank account has been frozen by natwest for a week explanation and my life has been put on hold because of this.i have been borrowing money to keep going and its put such a massive strain on me. How are they allowed to do such a thing something needs to be done and rules need to be changed.
    Ive had a deposit of my father to help buy my first home and they think im money laundering.
    I have had to notified my mortgage company which is nationwide and i might not get a mortgage because of all this. I am an innocent man thats done nothing wrong they have the cheek to tell me my direct debits have bounced and charging me for them as well.there are ppl worse off than me i know but the way they treat you as a customer is disgraceful and they put so much strain on your life and im at rock bottom at present and if i dont get the mortgage because of this it will have ruined my life and they should not be allowed to be this.

  19. Anthony
    February 28, 2017 | 4:38 am

    My account has just been frozen as well. Same story as most of the people above. My mother’s account was frozen last year for 4 months causing the woman a lot of stress and financial distress.
    To make matters worse, they refuse to honour a standing order for my rent! Do these people expect me to be homeless?
    I am going into the bank today with evidence of the deposits in my account however, I will also refuse to leave until they do something about my rent and restoring my account. I will go in there with a selfie stick recording everything and if I am lucky, they will get the police to remove me after which I will forward the story to news agencies and tarnish their image (let other customers see how the bank could treat them).

    We can’t let them get away with this BS! I will let you know how it goes…

  20. Jenny
    March 2, 2017 | 11:11 am

    Hi David,

    Both of my UK accounts with HSBC and Natwest have been frozen recently without explanation which certainly has caused a lot of distress. Putting that aside, I am also changing jobs at the moment and interviewing with a few companies, will this ongoing investigation and frozen account affect my credit check and my employment credit/background check, and tarnish my employment prospect? Please help.
    Thanks so much.

    • David Winch
      March 3, 2017 | 1:39 pm

      Have you received any Court order or communication from the police or other investigating authority?

  21. Engriud Y Woodruff
    March 19, 2017 | 5:47 pm

    Chase bank got my account frozen for no reason and they keep lying to me like they are going to send me a check through FEDEX so what is the problem I have been patience like they told me for 10- days what is going on I need to know

    • David Winch
      March 19, 2017 | 10:29 pm

      We are based in the United Kingdom. I believe you are based in the USA. We are not familiar with the law & banking practices in the USA, sorry. Seek local advice.

  22. Daniel H
    March 21, 2017 | 1:41 pm

    Hi David,

    We sold a commercial property and the money from the sale went to my solicitors bank account. Since December HSBC has frozen her bank account (with my money in it as well as other clients) it has been 3 months now. I desperately need the funds , My solicitor does not know what to do or say to me…

    I have an offer on a house agreed and I don’t want to start the conveyancing process if I’m not sure I have the deposit money readily available…

    What are the best steps for us to take to pursue this matter swiftly?

    • David Winch
      March 22, 2017 | 2:43 pm

      You need to speak to a (different) solicitor about this.
      Your solicitor may be under investigation by the police or the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority.
      The likelihood is that you will eventually get your money back – but this could take months.

  23. Neil
    March 23, 2017 | 7:06 pm

    My business bank account was frozen by Lloyds on 22/03/2017. There was a payment made on 17/03/2017 to the account and money was taken out by bank on 22/03/2017. I got no clue of what this payment is, who paid it to my business account. I don’t get payments from individuals in my business account. Now the bank has a block on my account and none of my direct debits or credit card receipts will be allowed into my account. They are not helpful either. I explained to them that i dont know who made the payment and i got no clue of the money. My calls kept transferred from one department to another and when i visited the branch they said they cant tell anything at the moment. I am not sure what has happened. Some one has paid into my account and the bank has refunded it to them and froze my account. Not sure how many days they are going to block the account. Can you please advise what should be done?

    • David Winch
      March 25, 2017 | 4:11 pm

      The best thing to do at this early stage is keep talking to the bank & keep checking to see if the account has been ‘unfrozen’.

  24. natalie johnston
    March 27, 2017 | 10:37 am

    Hi David,

    My account has been frozen with Lloyds since the 28th February 2017.

    I opened an account with them back in November 2016 and transferred my savings of 10k into the bank account.

    I have contacted the bank on numerous accounts and all I told is that its frozen due to a processing error and there is no time scale on when it will be dealt with. I have made a complaint and its not getting me anywhere. I have not been issued with a restraint order and I also do not have any debt.

    Please can you advise what you think I can do or what you think is happening as I need access to my funds to feed my son



    • David Winch
      March 31, 2017 | 8:43 pm

      I do not believe that the account has been frozen for several weeks because of “a processing error”.

      I think your account will have been the subject of a Suspicious Activity Report to the National Crime Agency. As you know from the article there is an initial period of up to 7 working days and a further period of up to 31 calendar days (known as the moratorium period) after that.

      I believe you are now in the moratorium period. Sadly, if you have already provided the bank with a full explanation of any unusual activity on your account, there is little you can do except check every day if the account has been unfrozen.

      If you are served with a restraint order you should seek advice from a solicitor without delay.


  25. Adam
    April 11, 2017 | 7:25 am

    Hi David,

    My metro isa account has been frozen for 4weeks with no explanation given to me…only thing the bank will tell me is somebody from the relevant department will be in contact when I can use my account…after many long phone calls with the bank they told me then that I would receive a letter when I can use the account…I have banked with NatWest for 9 years and have my wages and direct debits with them,,was only using metro for savings so it was harder for me to spend as I like the casinos,, over the period of April to April I paid in £15000 in cash in total,,over various deposits…from various different incomes…and the sale of a car..then 4 weeks ago needed £7000 which I rang in advance for and was able to collect….since then my account has been frozen…I’m guessing they have done a SAR report….what would you recommend I do to resolve this matter and get my remaining funds from these people? Thanks

    • David Winch
      April 11, 2017 | 2:22 pm

      I expect the matter has been reported to the National Crime Agency, which means that the bank cannot now unfreeze your account unless either (a) the NCA give consent to the bank or (b) the moratorium period expires (which may not be for about another 2 or 3 weeks).
      Check with the bank every day to see if the account has been unfrozen. If you receive a ‘restraint order’ take advice from a solicitor without delay.

  26. Jade Smith
    April 11, 2017 | 8:13 pm

    Hi David,

    I found out today that my account has been frozen, I have not had any unusual activity on the account or big sums of money deposited. Neither have i transferred large sums of money, so i am a little confused as to why this has happened. I bank with TSB and when i call them they are unable to provide me with any specifics just that i will receive a call back tomorrow by 8pm. I am very worried about this, all i ever receive each month is my wages which is from a PLC and maybe a bit of money from my dad which he transfers from his account to mine. All the money is traceable and from verified sources. I was wondering whether you can give anymore insight on this situation?

    I wondered whether this could all be a mistake on the banks part? I never really have more than £2500 go into my account each month.

    I look forward to hearing from you.


  27. Edward
    April 21, 2017 | 12:26 am

    It is sad reading all the comments here and I honestly feel gutted knowing that the banks can basically get away with holding our money without any explanation. My question to you is whether the UK laws you have explained above apply to the Isle of Man? I received a notice of account termination on 7th April and was asked to provide alternative bank details so that they could transfer the balance. I did this on 10th April but since then no updates or communication from the bank. I keep calling the bank but the customer care isn’t really helpful.

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