Santander bank refuses Welsh language forms

Campaigners ask the Welsh Government to change bank's policy 

Santander bank has refused to process a language campaign group's membership forms because they are written in Welsh 

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg has now written to Minister Alun Davies challenging him to change the bank's policy. In a recent white paper, the Minister refused to commit to extending Welsh language rights to the banking sector because of the 'present economic certainty'.  

In a note to the pressure group refusing to set up membership payments for three people, an official from Santander, a bank which operates in more than twenty countries in the world where English is not the main language, wrote: "Please return these documents to your account holder. Unfortunately Santander can only accept these documents written in English." 

Manon Elin, rights spokesperson for Cymdeithas yr Iaith commented: 

"This is another example of a private company refusing to provide a Welsh language service because they're not required to do so, and that's completely unacceptable. We must have a language law which ensures that banks have to respect basic rights to use the Welsh language. Unfortunately, the Welsh Government's plans for new legislation make it less likely that banks will have to comply 

The vast majority of people have to bank, but there is no means of banking online in Welsh, and we have to fight for other basic services in Welsh." 

In July 2017, YouGov published an opinion poll showing that the majority of people want to extend language duties to ensure services are provided in Welsh by banks and supermarkets. 

She added: 

"The Welsh Government isn't planning to impose language duties on banks soon because of the economic situtation, although that flies in the face of public opinion. Given their refusal to regulate, we're referring the matter to the Minister for him to sort out. If he doesn't think regulation is needed, it stands to reason that it must be simple for him to change the bank's policy. After all, he could choose to ensure that people can bank online in Welsh with every bank."