Letter: NatWest records of customer information

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article 'Anger grows over banks' political files' (19 July), conveys a totally misleading impression of National Westminster Bank's approach to the management of personal customer data.

The allegation that NatWest keeps political files on its customers is totally untrue. Neither does the bank have a category within its computer records which refers to the political affiliation of customers.

As part of the process of developing long-term relationships with its customers, the bank does, however, record information relevant to an individual's personal profile. This is not compiled on a systematic basis and is often no more than a file-note of a discussion. The bank does not actively solicit such information.

We believe that our approach in this area is consistent with our policy of adopting best practice in dealings with our customers. Under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1984, information stored on a computer for any reason other than accounting purposes must be recorded with the Data Protection Registrar. We fully comply with the Code of Banking Practice and last year issued a booklet, Our Commitment to You, setting out the basis of our relationship with our customers.

Yours sincerely,


Group Chief Executive

National Westminster Bank

London, EC2

19 July