Extra UK banks to close British expat accounts – what to do if yours is closed

Why are accounts being closed?

Most UK banks are closing accounts now because of how Brexit is likely to change so-called “passporting” arrangements at the end of this year. Passporting is when banks are allowed to provide services to customers in other states in the European Economic Area (EEA) without having to get direct authorisation in those states.

Current passporting rules are set to end on 31 December unless a new agreement is reached with the EU. What that means in practice is that, as things stand, from 1 January 2021 each UK bank will need to have separate authorisation in every EEA country it wants to operate in – and different countries will have their own local laws and regulations which could affect banks’ ability to trade there.  

As a result, some banks have decided to simply close accounts in countries where they no longer wish to operate The banks which gave us detail on their decision, including Barclays and Nationwide, said that account closures will go ahead regardless of whether the UK reaches a deal with the EU – so if you’re told your account is closing, it’s important to make arrangements now.  

The UK financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), says it has written to banks to remind them of their obligations to customers if they choose to close accounts, including giving at least two months’ notice before closing current accounts which are in credit. 

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