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British bank accounts for expats

British bank accounts for expats

Old Sep 20th 2020, 10:15 am
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Default British bank accounts for expats

Following on from the recent article in Connexion about an expat having their Barclaycard withdrawn by their bank, there is an article in the Sunday Times stating that expats could also have their UK bank accounts closed.
It says that this is because the UK and the EU have not been able to reach an agreement on a banking passporting system to allow UK banks to continue to service non-residents.
The banks would need to apply for expensive new licences to operate in the EU.
This, of course, may not happen but any expats who use a UK bank account to receive rent or pension income should give some thought to alternative arrangements should this situation develop.
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Old Sep 20th 2020, 10:38 am
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
Following on from the recent article in Connexion about an expat having their Barclaycard withdrawn by their bank, there is an article in the Sunday Times stating that expats could also have their UK bank accounts closed.
It says that this is because the UK and the EU have not been able to reach an agreement on a banking passporting system to allow UK banks to continue to service non-residents.
The banks would need to apply for expensive new licences to operate in the EU.
This, of course, may not happen but any expats who use a UK bank account to receive rent or pension income should give some thought to alternative arrangements should this situation develop.
we have a thread warning just that in the TIO section as it affects ALL people in EU countries.
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Old Sep 20th 2020, 11:16 am
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

I seem to remember that the EU warned people about this a long time ago.
Does it apply the other way round? What about Brits who own holiday homes in France and have French bank accounts?
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Old Sep 20th 2020, 11:30 am
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

I assume that it applies to expats without a UK address.
Therefore, if you have a UK address then there would be no problem.
If that is the case then it should apply the other way round.
I hope.
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Old Sep 20th 2020, 12:16 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
I assume that it applies to expats without a UK address.
Therefore, if you have a UK address then there would be no problem.
If that is the case then it should apply the other way round.
I hope.
Hopefully the banks will interpret it that way and leave loopholes, although I suspect that strictly speaking it should be about where a person is resident.
Obviously banks do need to know which country a customer is resident in because it affects things like, how interest is paid and what products you are allowed to purchase or invest I remember being quite surprised, shortly after I'd filled in my first French tax return, to find a message on my UK internet banking account requiring me to confirm, before I could access my account, that I was tax resident in France. They must have picked this information up automatically because I hadn't told them since it didn't affect any of the products I held with them, all I had was a current account.
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Old Sep 20th 2020, 4:23 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

I'm with two UK banks and they both got me to confirm my residency some time ago, so I can't provide a UK address if that loophole existed. So far they haven't issued any warnings about closing accounts, but what a nightmare that would be. I guess we'd be forced to transfer funds at a terrible exchange rate to French accounts. I prefer having accounts in both countries, there's a great many practicalities to it. Just one more thing to stress about.
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Old Sep 20th 2020, 4:56 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Just to add that HSBC UK say on their website that their accounts will still remain operable for UK expats living in the EU after Brexit. My other bank say they are considering their options and will provide ample notice in writing if there's a problem.
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Old Sep 20th 2020, 5:24 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by G-J-B View Post
I'm with two UK banks and they both got me to confirm my residency some time ago, so I can't provide a UK address if that loophole existed. So far they haven't issued any warnings about closing accounts, but what a nightmare that would be. I guess we'd be forced to transfer funds at a terrible exchange rate to French accounts. I prefer having accounts in both countries, there's a great many practicalities to it. Just one more thing to stress about.
Neither has mine (Lloyds), but then my surname is at the end of the alphabet....
If it makes a difference, my current account was converted years ago into an offshore account (on the Isle of Man at the time and now in Andover). Likewise my two daughters' accounts, and they haven't been notified either. They have both been toying with the idea of closing their accounts and transferring their money where it's more useful, so it wouldn't bother them if Lloyds does close them. And in fact I only use mine when I go to the UK, once a year and not at all this year, and I can always use my French CB.
But I can understand all the future administrative issues for expats whose income is paid into a UK account....
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Old Sep 20th 2020, 5:38 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

If the writing was on the wall, you'd have thought more people would have been notified by now. When I moved addresses within France one UK bank account went out of their way to try and forcibly close my account - some manager had put a note that it was to be closed, so it didn't matter who I spoke to or how sympathetic they were, they all told me my account would be closed because I couldn't be in France with a UK bank account (despite I'd had it for years in France prior to my move). One guy on the phone even told me he'd never heard of someone in France with a UK account. I wrote a letter of complaint and they told me the manager was reprimanded and I received financial compensation.

Anyway, I digress. Yes, I think people have lots of practical uses for still having a UK account. I don't use mine very often, but they are useful when I do require them, and as I can't open a new one I'd rather hold onto them. I don't really want to be forced into using current exchange rates to send the money over to France either, although I suspect after Christmas I would probably wish I had!

Hopefully your offshore account won't be subject to the same problems.

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Old Sep 20th 2020, 5:52 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
This, of course, may not happen but any expats who use a UK bank account to receive rent or pension income should give some thought to alternative arrangements should this situation develop.
I'm off to my bank on Monday to ask about this exact problem. Hoping for the best and planning for the worst, has anyone any suggestions for possible alternative arrangements?
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Old Sep 20th 2020, 6:52 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Do let us know what they say, Alianco ! See if you can worm the full story out of them.
Transferwise Borderless as an alternative ? https://transferwise.com/gb/borderle...oogle.co.uk%2F
I have TW Borderless accounts in various currencies, what's not to like.
I also still have a joint UK account with a UK resident, I wonder how they'll cope with that! The account hasn't been used for donkey's years but we never closed it, it's registered to his current address on it but to the best of my knowledge the bank has me down as tax resident in France.
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Old Sep 21st 2020, 7:05 am
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

So are EU countries going to be treated differently from other countries across. the world?
Surely there must be thousands of people resident in the US, Asia, etc who have kept their UK bank accounts. I’ve heard no mention of these being closed.

Incidentally, I checked last night and when my building society Nationwide talks about “address” they mean the place where you’re resident for tax purposes. I was thinking perhaps I could just give them a UK address for correspondence but it seems that’s not - or no longer - possible.
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Old Sep 21st 2020, 7:57 am
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by Rosecampion View Post
So are EU countries going to be treated differently from other countries across. the world?
Surely there must be thousands of people resident in the US, Asia, etc who hPaleave kept their UK bank accounts. I’ve heard no mention of these being closed.

Incidentally, I checked last night and when my building society Nationwide talks about “address” they mean the place where you’re resident for tax purposes. I was thinking perhaps I could just give them a UK address for correspondence but it seems that’s not - or no longer - possible.
There has been posts on BE about people in Australia having their UK bank accounts closed/suspended. Our UK bank (Halifax) keeps threatening but hasn't done so - yet.
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Old Sep 21st 2020, 8:16 am
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by Rosecampion View Post
So are EU countries going to be treated differently from other countries across. the world?
Surely there must be thousands of people resident in the US, Asia, etc who have kept their UK bank accounts. I’ve heard no mention of these being closed.
This is what I have understood but I could be wrong:
If a financial institution wants to offer its services in a different trading area, either there needs to be a comprehensive agreement in place or each bank has to obtain a licence from that jurisdiction.
When the UK was part of the EU, UK banks could operate throughout the EU without any need for licences because it was the same trading area with common financial standards and rules.
This will change at the end of transition.
The UK has announced that it will no longer be bound by EU rules. Throughout the negotiations EU has been asking the UK to provide details of the financial standards it intends to bring in to replace EU rules, but the UK hasn't provided the information requested - basically it has been saying 'Just trust us, surely you don't need us to fill all these forms in', which isn't acceptable to the EU. This has been mentioned several times in Barnier's regular updates on the progress of negotiations, which are published on the EU website. As I recall, one recent report said the UK had been given a final deadline to provide the assurances the EU needed, but the UK had missed the deadline and it's now too late for the EU to process the information and go through all its consultation processes and reach a decision by the end of the year.
I guess UK banks were waiting and hoping that the government would sort out a comprehensive agreement with the EU to avoid each individual institution having to apply for a licence, and now that there appears to be little chance of that, they're having to consider their position.

I imagine that UK banks that operate in non EU countries are individually licenced by those countries to provide services there, and Brexit won't affect that. But if they have been allowed to provide services there by virtue of being covered by EU financial standards, then that would be affected.

What I don't know is whether the UK is going to reciprocate by putting barriers up to EU financial servicing UK residents. It would be illogical because the UK has been happy with EU financial standards up to now, and I can't imagine that the UK is actually going to set higher standards. But I haven't seen anything about it.

I don't suppose the HSBC revelations are giving the EU much confidence in the UK, either.

Edit - at first glance this looks relevant https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info...0062020_en.pdf although it's not the report I was thinking of, that I read before.

Last edited by EuroTrash; Sep 21st 2020 at 8:22 am.
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Old Sep 21st 2020, 8:48 am
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by Rosecampion View Post
Incidentally, I checked last night and when my building society Nationwide talks about “address” they mean the place where you’re resident for tax purposes. I was thinking perhaps I could just give them a UK address for correspondence but it seems that’s not - or no longer - possible.
That's an interesting point. We're with Nationwide as well and we're tax residents in UK. They happily allowed us to change our UK registered address to Carcassonne, maybe we could change it back. Doubtful, but I'll ask.

Eurotrash, your summary of the possible causes of these banking problems sounds plausible. The thing that confuses me is that we expats are not asking our banks to work in a different jurisdiction for which it has no financial 'passport', we're just asking it to handle our sterling accounts solely for UK transactions. The only difference is the registered address of the account. I always assumed that was about fraud prevention rather than financial jurisdiction. Having said that, three abandoned businesses in my professional life are testament to my lack of financial acumen.
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