Brits in EU risk losing UK bank accounts within weeks

Some of Britain's biggest banks have begun contacting customers in EU countries, warning them that their accounts will be closed down within weeks because the cost and complexity of operating without a continuation of pan-European banking rules is too much, news wires reported.

Each of the EU's 27 member states has different rules for cross-border bank accounts which will start to apply immediately the UK's transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

According to a report in The Times, thousands of Britons who live in Europe face being stripped of their UK bank accounts and credit cards, because of the UK government's failure to agree rules for operating after Brexit. “In some cases, continuing to serve customers would be incredibly complex, extremely expensive and very time-consuming, and simply would not make economic sense," a source at one British bank told the newspaper. "This is passporting — this is the reality of Brexit.”

Lloyds, Britain’s biggest banking group, began writing to customers in August, warning them that their bank accounts would close down on 31 December. The bank estimates that 13,000 customers, including those based in Holland, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal, would lose their accounts.  “If customers have regular deposits into, or payments out of, their account, they will need to make other arrangements before their account is closed," the bank said.

Barclays and Coutts have also started contacting customers.

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