Tens of thousands of British expats in Europe will be stripped of their UK bank accounts and credit cards in weeks after the government failed to negotiate post-Brexit rules
- British expats in Europe are at risk of closing their UK bank accounts due to Brexit
- Banks like Lloyds and Barclays have started notifying customers
- The Brexit rules make it illegal for UK banks to deliver to UK customers in the EU
Tens of thousands of British expats living in Europe are at risk of closing their UK bank accounts "in weeks" due to post-Brexit rules.
Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts are among a number of UK banks that have started notifying expatriate customers that they will close their accounts on December 31st at 11:00 PM.
The end of the redemption agreement makes it a “bureaucratic nightmare” for UK banks to serve UK customers in the EU after Brexit, and many are simply choosing to use their services.
Lloyds Bank confirmed that it will withdraw services from Holland, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal – a move that will affect 13,000 UK customers [file image]
The banks make their own decisions about which EU countries to withdraw from and in which to continue to operate.
Lloyds Bank confirmed to the Sunday Times that it will be withdrawing services from Holland, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal – a move that will affect 13,000 UK customers.
The bank, the UK's largest banking group, has been writing to its clients living in these countries since August, informing them that their UK bank accounts will be closed on December 31st.
Barclays also confirmed that its EU-based bank and credit card customers had received letters.
A Barclays customer who lives in Brittany confirmed to the Sunday Times that she had received a letter saying that her Barclaycard would be canceled on November 16, despite having been a customer for more than 40 years.
Other Barclays customers living in Spain, France and Belgium have also confirmed they have received a notification that their Barclay cards will be canceled.
Another expat said some of her friends who also live abroad gave addresses of family members in the UK to keep their UK accounts.
Barclays confirmed that its EU-based bank and credit card customers have received letters and informed them that their UK bank accounts will be closed [file image].
After Brexit is complete and the UK leaves the EU, it will be illegal for UK banks to supply UK customers in the EU without applying for new banking licenses.
The government failed to negotiate post-Brexit banking rules, which is why the pan-European banking rules known as passports no longer apply to these customers.
Instead of negotiating the specific banking rules of 27 Member States, which have been labeled a "bureaucratic nightmare", some banks are closing their customers' accounts.
In a statement, the Treasury Department said: "We expect banks to treat their customers fairly and provide timely communications so they can make appropriate decisions."
"However, providing banking services is a commercial decision for businesses based on a variety of factors, including local laws and regulations of certain EEA countries."
Two other major UK banks, NatWest and Santander, said they had no plans so far to close customer accounts but were "thinking about their options".