Tens of thousands of British are affected: expatriates in EU risk to have their UK bank accounts closed “in weeks”, because of post Brexit rules.
Among several UK banks: Barclays, Lloyds and Coutts have started to give notice to their expatriate customers to tell them their accounts will be closed at 11pm on December 31.
This is a “bureaucratic nightmare” for UK banks to provide for British customers in the EU post-Brexit. The end of the withdrawal makes many of them to utterly pull their services.
Banks are making their own decisions as to which EU countries to pull out of and which to continue operating in.
Lloyds bank confirmed that it will be withdrawing services from Holland, Ireland, Germany, Slovakia, Italy, and Portugal – it will affect 13,000 British customers in one move.
As one of the Britain’s biggest baking group, its customers living in these countries had started since August to receive letters, telling them that on December 31, their UK bank accounts would be shut.
Barclays also confirmed that they started writing to its banking and credit-card customers living in the EU.
Living in Brittany, one customer of Barclays, confirmed that she received a letter saying that despite being a customer for more than 40 years, her Barclaycard will be terminated on November 16.
Living in France, Belgium and Spain, other Barclays customers have also confirmed that their Barclaycard will be cancelled.
Some expatriate, said that to keep their British accounts, a few of their relatives also living abroad were giving addresses of family members living in UK.
After the completion of Brexit and final departure of UK from the EU, it will become illegal for UK banks to provide for British customers living the EU, without applying for new banking licences.
The UK government has not succeeded to negotiate post-Brexit rules and so pan-European banking rules, also known as passporting, will not anymore apply to these customers.
Negotiating the specific banking rules with all 27 members states, would be quite a headache for banks. To avoid this “bureaucratic nightmare”, most of the banks rather to close the accounts of their customers.
The Treasury said in a statement: “We expect banks to treat their customers fairly and provide timely communications to enable them to make appropriate decisions”.
“However, the provision of banking services is a commercial decision for firms based on a variety of factors, including the local law and regulation of specific EEA countries”.
Furthermore, two other major UK banks, Santander and NatWest have said that to date, they had no plans to shut customer’s accounts but are “considering their options”.
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