A campaign group has called for the Isle of Man Government to introduce stronger measures to protect customers from the controversial practice of de-banking.

De-banking, also known within the industry as de-risking, is when a bank decides to shut down a person or organisation’s bank accounts.

In the past, banks have taken the decision to shut down accounts over the perception that account holders could pose a financial, legal, regulatory or reputational risk to their business.

Last year, Brexit campaigner and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage claimed he had become a victim of de-banking after his account at Coutts - a private bank owned by NatWest - was shut down.

Mr Farage said he’d received a report from the bank which indicated his political views were considered as a factor in his account closure.

Measures to combat de-banking have since been introduced in the UK as part of the ‘Payment Services Regulations 2024’.

Now the Manx Taxpayers’ Alliance want the Isle of Man Government to adopt similar measures on the island.

A spokesperson for the group said: ‘It is important to extend these protections to people in the Isle of Man.

‘The Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance has been in contact with multiple Manx residents who have suffered this, and all report that they have not even been told why their bank was cancelling their services.

‘Banking services are essential for normal economic life, and the small nature of the Manx economy requires additional protections for Manx consumers.

‘Our stance is unambiguous: the people of the Isle of Man should not lose access to bank accounts or other payment services for arbitrary and unreviewable reasons.

‘We are calling upon the Isle of Man Government to upgrade Manx protections to at least the same level that British banking customers will soon enjoy.’

The Manx Taxpayers’ Alliance said there would be a number of advantages to bringing in new measures on the island, including putting an end to the practice of terminating payment services based on a customer’s political or religious beliefs.

The proposed changes would also see the notice period for the termination of banking services increase from two months to 90 days.

The spokesperson added: ‘Given that Isle of Man banks are typically part of groups with significant operations in the United Kingdom, the cost of complying with such regulations in the Isle of Man is likely to be trivial: just upgrade Manx rules to the same levels as the United Kingdom.’

Michael Josem, member of the Manx Taxpayers’ Alliance, said that the campaign group have written to the Treasury Minister about the issue.

He said: ‘The Treasury Minister acknowledged the letter and pledged to speak to the Financial Services Authority.

‘I can't speak to how seriously the Isle of Man Government has taken this issue, but I have certainly heard from various Isle of Man residents who are concerned about losing banking services, especially in a relatively small, increasingly digital, economy like ours.

‘Bank accounts are essential services.’