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Banks told to be more sympathetic to bankrupts

Undischarged bankrupts are to be helped to gain access to a new current account, the Government has said. At present, many bankrupts have to wait years in order to qualify for a bank account because their credit history is so bad.

However, the Insolvency Service has said that it would like to see banks take a more sympathetic view of bankrupts trying to open a current account. In a statement, the service said that being barred from a bank account meant that bankrupts struggle with basic tasks such as receiving wages and paying bills and this can result in additional expenses for them.

Business minister Ed Davey said: "Access to a bank account is an essential stepping stone to help people manage their finances and to get them back on track after facing up to their financial difficulties. Without access to a bank account, even the simplest financial transaction is beyond reach for an undischarged bankrupt."

The Government is asking banks, charities and others to consult on the issue, and added that following the consultation it may introduce a voluntary code for banks or even legislate to ease the situation.