Expatica news

British banks cannot afford to keep EU-based customers after Brexit

BRITISH BANKS CANNOT AFFORD TO KEEP EU-BASED CUSTOMERS AFTER BREXITMany of the big British banks have written to expats to say that unless they can prove they are resident in UK they will stop serving them when the withdrawal agreement ends on December 31st this year, leading to issues for many.

Due to the government failing to negotiate post-Brexit rules, many Brits with UK bank accounts and credit cards currently living in Europe will see their UK bank accounts closed and credit cards frozen in the coming weeks.

The Times wrote yesterday “Without a continuation of crucial pan-European banking rules, known as passporting, it will become illegal for UK banks to provide for British customers in the EU without applying for new banking licences.
As each of the 27 member states has a hotchpotch of different rules, it is a bureaucratic nightmare for institutions, and some are deciding simply to ditch certain countries.”

One British bank states: “In some cases, continuing to serve customers would be incredibly complex, extremely expensive and very time-consuming, and simply would not make economic sense.”

Not all banks have taken the same decisions, but over recent weeks those that have decided which countries to abandon have been writing to customers living outside the UK, in countries where the regulatory demands are considered to be too costly, informing them that their accounts will be closed. 

Britain’s biggest banking group, Lloyd’s, began writing to those customers affected in August, to inform that their bank accounts would be shut on December 31st 2020. This will also apply to customers of Halifax and Bank of Scotland, which are owned by the Lloyd’s group. Coutts bank, which serves some of the UK’s richest and most affluent people also confirmed that customers based in the EU will no longer be served.

Currently, NatWest and Santander say they have no plans to close accounts.

If any readers have received letters from any banks on this topic, please email [email protected]. I’m keeping a tally for ECREU. Thanks.