>> And more than 300 charities in Britain have lost access to a bank account in the last 2 years. That's as a result of the banks becoming much more nervous about working with them. I'm Lawrence White, UK banking correspondent for Reuters, here in London. Banks have become increasingly nervous about working with charities because of the massive fines they potentially face if they're caught giving banking services to any charity that has links to a terrorist organization.
So the British Government is belatedly doing something about this problem. They've convened a group that will bring in government departments, banks, and charity workers, to try and sit in the same room and work out new policies that will, hopefully, make it easier for the charities to maintain their access to the banking system.
Problems the charities have suffered for losing their bank account range from anything from the staff time that it takes to replace that bank account, through financial losses, and all the way up to, in some cases, closure of the charity. Where they simply can't find any bank that's willing to work with them.
So some charities are trying to carry on without a bank account, either by sending their money through other systems like Western Union. Or, in some cases, one source told me of a charity that's simply throwing bags of cash over the border into Syria. Hardly ideal. Part of the reason why the government is so keen to act on this, sources told me, is that, next year, the Financial Action Task Force, which is a sort of intergovernmental body that looks after anti-terrorist and anti-money laundering issues, will inspect Britain.
And the country could face criticism from that body if it's found they haven't done enough to help charities that are losing access to banking.