EXCLUSIVE: Major banks drag their feet over civil partnerships
Following last week’s investigation into Smile, PinkNews.co.uk has contacted other banks to find out if their application procedures take account of the fact that civil partnerships have been legal since December 2005.
A spokesperson confirmed that they offer civil partner as an option on all accounts and that this became completely compliant in April 2006.
On their website it states that “Nationwide is committed to treating civil partners the same as married couples.”
NATWEST/ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND
Application forms offer: Married/In a civil partnership and Widowed/surviving civil partnership and also divorced/separated/dissolved.
When they use the word ‘partner’ in terms conditions they make it clear it can be someone a person is married to, living with or in a civil partnership with, regardless of gender. Royal Bank of Scotland also offer the same options on their forms.
Press release from June this year about joint account talks about couples only in the sense of a man and a woman.
Press office head of communications told PinkNews.co.uk he had “no idea” if it is included on the forms. Still awaiting further comment.
“Whilst at present our Mortgage Application forms do not have an option for Civil Partnership, they are presently under review for change to reflect current requirements regarding content and Credit Assessment,” said a PR manager for Northern Rock.
Lloyds added the option of Civil Partner to their forms before the CPA came into force- so just before December 2005 and were praised by Stonewall for their quick implementation.
“We now offer combined options for marriedcivil partner and divorceddissolved civil partnership. This ensures that our civil partner customers receive equal treatment to our married customers,” said Melissa Godfray from Lloyds TSB.
“On the advice of experts we decided to offer combined options so that customers can be assured that they will receive equal treatment without having to disclose their sexual orientation.”
HALIFAX/BANK OF SCOTLAND
A HBOS spokesperson told PinkNews.co.uk: “We treat couples in a civil partnership exactly the same as those who are married; we don’t discriminate between the two since both statuses afford the couple the same legal right.
“We therefore advise couples engaged in a civil partnership to tick the married option on the application form, just for the purposes of setting up the account. This doesn’t affect the operation of the account, it doesn’t make any difference to the way the product operates.
“We do this so we can assign them the same legal rights as a married couple.
“The wording may vary on paperwork they receive from us in some instances, for example we would refer to a dissolved civil partnership rather than a divorce.
“Some of our literature may vary, especially where we have to use certain wording to comply with legislation/regulatory requirements.
“We would like to stress that we don’t discriminate between civil partnerships and marriages. Accounts are operated in exactly the same way (any individual can get any account) and except in certain circumstances (as discussed in our call earlier ‘dissolved’ instead of ‘divorced’) all literature and correspondence is exactly the same.”
Still awaiting a response from their press office.
TESCO PERSONAL FINANCE
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“Customers haven’t told us its an issue. We do not ask for information about marital status on our application forms, therefore we have no plans to add civil partner our plans in future.”
“All of Barclays product application forms have a blank box for marital status which enables the customer to put whatever answer they wish in there.”
No option on forms for civil partner. A spokesman said he assumes it comes under marriage.
Have you had problems with your bank or building society and civil partnerships? If so contact us at [email protected]