Thousands of British citizens living in Europe are to have their UK bank accounts and credit cards closed due to the lack of post-Brexit rules negotiated by the government.
Lloyds, Barclays, and Coutts have already begun to inform their customers, both retail and business, that they will lose their accounts when the Brexit transitional period ends on 31 December, if not before. Lloyds in particular, being Britain’s largest banking group (including Halifax and Bank of Scotland) has confirmed that this may affect up to 13,000 customers, including those with current accounts in Holland, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Portugal.
According to The Sunday Times, Lloyds said: “If customers have regular deposits into, or payments out of, their account, they will need to make other arrangements before their account is closed.” Other banking institutions have yet to make any decisions about the situation, with Natwest and Santander said to be “considering their options”, and HSBC stating that as an international bank it would still be able to serve customers across the EU.
Many are wondering whether this loss of accounts will happen, but as there have been no post-Brexit rules in place to continue or replace passporting (the current system for pan-European banking), as well as the December deadline fast approaching, it is looking likely that banks will go ahead and cease serving their EU customers. Without applying for new banking licenses, which will be essential to continue trading in the EU, it becomes illegal for UK banks to provide for British customers living abroad. However as each of the European countries has different rules when it comes to banking, institutions are having to decide which countries to continue service and which to end trading with, as they want to avoid the complex, time-consuming process that will come from obtaining new licenses.
This “reality of Brexit” is one of many that are coming to light during the transition period.
Nigel Green, CEO and founder of deVere Group said “Once again, traditional banks are outrageously failing their clients who now need to take urgent steps to continue to be able to access, use, and manage their money. The move by these banks will be a major inconvenience to many tens of thousands of Brits living in the EU.”