UK high street banks abandoning expats – and it’s going to get worse

UK high street banks "seemingly do not care" about the millions of British expat customers around the world, meaning those abroad should urgently seek alternatives to sidestep avoidable issues as the situation could worsen.

This is the assessment from deVere Group, which specialises in cross-border financial advice, following news that Barclays Bank announced on Friday that British people living overseas will no longer be able to hold a Barclays UK current or savings account. 

CEO and founder of deVere Group, Nigel Green, says: "We have been warning expats since November 2020 that many Britons who live overseas face being stripped of their UK bank accounts and credit cards because of increasing required – and expensive and onerous -compliance measures they need to take.

"While some banks have been offering some international services, it appears that some UK banks are now pushing to remove even these and focus exclusively on 'home' markets instead or offer alternatives such as holding extremely large deposits with them in order to maintain basic services.

"We expect that other British high street banks will follow in Barclays' footsteps and further 'modify' expat banking services. We would be surprised if many more people were not affected.

He continues: "This will all cause considerable disruption for many individuals, families, businesses and other organisations, especially where there are deposits, standing orders, regular payments and credit facilities to another bank.

 "I would urge those who are or could be, affected by high street banks abandoning them to urgently seek alternatives with providers that already operate under multijurisdictional rules to sidestep avoidable issues now and in the future. 

 "Compliance costs facing traditional banks are going up and up, and they, it appears, are simply unwilling and unable to use their increasingly limited resources on UK expats."

 Mr Green concludes: "There's a growing need for clients to have borderless access to, and management and use of their money.

"There are other expat-designed banking alternatives, so they don't have to put up with this outrageous, increasingly routine, de-banking from UK high street banks."

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