Account closures for expats – Everything you need to know
You may have recently read or heard the news about potential bank account closures for expats when the UK leaves the European Union on the 31st December.
We wanted to therefore try and offer some clarity to our account holders and let you know that we are aware of the situation as it continues to develop.
In its simplest form, some expats living in the EU have been contacted by their banks and been told that their accounts will be closed due to Brexit. This is due to the fact that once the UK leaves the EU, UK banks will require different banking licenses to be able to provide services to customers living in the EU.
Currently, the UK can trade freely in any other EU state that is also covered by the European Economic Area (EEA) a luxury we will no longer have once we have fully left the European Union.
While the solution exists that banks that are affected by this could obtain the required licenses to still be able to cover their EU expat customers, some feel it is not in their commercial interest to do so.
The good news is that those affected banks must inform their customers in good time (at least two months’ notice) that their account will be shut, giving them sufficient time to find an alternative solution.
It is also important to mention that this will not affect any Currency//UK accounts and we will be able to operate as normal in terms of both sending and receiving client funds.
Which banks have been affected?
The majority of the main UK banks are going to be affected in some capacity such as Barclays and Barclaycard, Lloyds, and Natwest. Lloyds for example has already contacted over 13,000 customers informing them that they will no longer be able to provide them with certain banking services once the Brexit transition period ends on the 31st of December.
The changing of regulations will make operating in some EU countries too costly for certain banks given the return on investment, HSBC and Santander however have no plans to close British Expat accounts of those living in the EU.
It seems as though not all EU countries will be affected but some Brits living in Portugal, Italy, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands have received letters from their UK bank account provider.
What should I do?
It is important to stress again that your bank has to provide you with a letter confirming your account closure whilst giving you at least two months to make alternative arrangements. If you have not heard from your bank on this matter it is likely that your account is not affected, however, if you are concerned we would recommend reaching out to your bank to get clarity from them.
Furthermore, Currency//UK are and will be able to receive and hold funds for those who face account closures, while they find another solution such as opening a new account with a different bank.
We will continue to monitor announcements from different banks as to whether some of their customers will be affected, however, we hope this has offered some clarity over the situation and reassurance that we are here to help.
If you have any questions please feel free to give a member of our team a call 020 7738 0777 and we will be happy to help where we can.