Brexit warning: Expats could lose access to bank accounts after transition deadline | Personal Finance | Finance

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A Brexit deal has not yet been done, but with the UK accelerating towards the December 31, 2020 deadline, a deep level of uncertainty about bank accounts remains. While bank accounts are extremely important to many people for their financial affairs, changes due to the UK’s exit from the European Union are on the horizon. Banks have now informed certain customers that their accounts could close at the end of the transition period, potentially creating chaos for those affected.

All, however, is not lost, and with speculation mounting that a deal could be close to being finalised, there may be hope yet.

UK and EU officials could lay out rules on passporting within a Brexit deal which helps customers, however this remains to be seen. 

But while the situation remains uncertain, some banks have taken steps to inform their customers of the potential for change.

A number of banks and providers have written to select customers to inform them of the deadline. 

This week it emerged Nationwide has written to 5,000 customers living in Italy and the Netherlands to tell them their accounts will close. 

In recent weeks, a number of other providers have also issued similar correspondence to customers who will be affected.

Familiar banks such as Barclays and Coutts have confirmed they have reached out to some customers to let them know of the potential decision.

And close to 13,000 Lloyds Banking Group customers have received letters from the provider on the topic. 

In a statement, UK Finance said: “Where possible, firms want to keep providing banking services to customers living in the EEA after the transition period.

“The impact of each customer will vary depending on the operating model of their bank or provider, the product or service being provided, and the legal and regulatory framework of the country in which they are resident.

“Impacted customers resident within the EEA should be contacted by their provider to inform them of any changes to the services they receive and any actions they need to take.”

As the deadline draws closer, MPs have called upon the government to be transparent about the changes, and help customers who may be affected.

The Treasury Select Committee’s Mel Stride has written to the head of the Financial Conduct Authority urging further clarity, stating: “Many British expats in the Eu are being told that their UK bank accounts will be terminated at the end of the year.

“It’s vital that they’re given sufficient warning so that they have time to make alternative arrangements.”

A Nationwide spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “As is the case with a number of UK-based financial services providers, due to changing rules regarding UK accounts held by those in some EU territories, customers residing in those areas will no longer be able to use their accounts going forward.

“As such, we have had to write to our members in Italy and the Netherlands to let them know that, as a result of the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, we will no longer be able to provide them savings accounts, current accounts or credit cards in their jurisdiction.

“We want to give our members time to make alternative arrangements, in the meantime we will update them with further information as soon as we can.”




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