FCA supports zero-tolerance approach to customers abusing bank branch staff

Reports of verbal and physical attacks on bank branch and other financial services staff who have asked customers to wear a face covering or to queue have been on the increase, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said.

It said staff in banks, building societies, credit unions and post offices are working hard during the coronavirus pandemic and it would encourage customers, wherever possible, to go online for their banking.

The regulator said: “We are aware of reports of an increase in verbal and physical attacks on branch staff by customers who have been told to wear a face covering or asked to wait in a queue to help maintain social distancing.

“This is a matter of concern for the FCA and we wish to thank the frontline staff for their significant efforts to keep branches open during this challenging period.

“We would remind customers that, by law, it is mandatory to wear a face covering in a branch, unless you have an exemption.”

It said consumers should refer to Government guidance for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for more information.

The FCA added: “Branch staff are carrying out a critical public-facing service and must be treated with respect. Staff should not be physically or verbally attacked in any situation, including where a customer has been asked to wear a face covering.

“We support firms that adopt a zero-tolerance approach to staff abuse and any necessary follow-up actions to enforce this.”