“I was shocked when I received a notification that my bank account would be closed in two months,”
“They said if I don’t give a UK address my account will be closed and I have to cut up my card.”
She is one of thousands of UK expats living in the EU who have been told that their bank accounts will be closed due to Brexit.
Lloyds Bank has notified 13,000 private and business customers in writing that it will no longer be able to offer banking services after the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.
And Money Box noted that Barclays, Barclaycard and Coutts – owned by the NatWest Group – are taking similar action.
Experts say this is because lenders are losing their EU banking licenses, making it too costly to operate in some countries.
However, HSBC and Santander have no plans to close UK expat accounts in the EU.
Ms. Clarke says she has until early November to close her account and transfer all funds, standing orders and recurring payments to another bank.
She says she has never had financial problems with Lloyds because she has been banking with them “for decades”.
Brits living in the Netherlands, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal have received similar letters.
One of them is Robert Kane, who lives in Spain and has a Barclaycard credit card.
“I think it’s an unbelievable situation that Barclaycard will lose so many thousands of customers because of Brexit,” says Robert.
“I don’t have an address in the UK as I’ve lived in Spain and have been doing this for 14 years. You haven’t given me any advice other than cutting up my card, canceling regular payments and continuing to pay any outstanding amounts.”
A source at NatWest, owned by Coutts, says they have no intention of closing accounts unless there is no other option and affected customers are contacted.
Sarah Hall, a fellow in the UK in a Changing Europe, a research unit at King’s College London, says EU-wide banking rules will not apply to the UK after Brexit.
UK banks are no longer allowed to provide services to customers in the EU without the right banking licenses.
This is known as passporting, a system for banks in the EU that allows them to trade freely in any other country in the European Economic Area (EEA) without the need for further authorization.
Sarah said that while HSBC and Santander will continue to offer banking, others don’t think it’s commercially viable.
“Some UK banks have decided that the size and scope of their customer base are small and not profitable enough to warrant a subsidiary, so they have decided to leave this market. It is a potential zip code lottery.
“This means the market will be more difficult to navigate as a customer. It is less secure and could mean fewer choices and potentially higher interest rates and lower savings rates due to less competition.”
In a statement, Lloyds said: “We have written to a small number of customers living in affected EU countries that we will unfortunately no longer be able to serve some UK customers due to the UK’s exit from the EU based banking services. “
Barclays wouldn’t reveal how many accounts will be closed but said it would contact affected customers.
UK trade organization UK Finance said the financial industry had worked hard to prepare for Brexit.
“If possible, companies want to continue offering banking services to customers who live in the EEA after the transition period.
“The impact on each customer depends on the operating model of their bank or provider, the product or service offered, and the legal and regulatory framework in the country in which they are based.”