FEARS are mounting that Lloyds Bank could follow Barclay’s lead and close the bank accounts of the thousands of Brits who live in Spain.
Lloyds has already reached out to 13,000 customers with current accounts in Holland, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal, writing to warn them that their bank accounts will be closed on December 31.
It’s sparked fear in Spanish expats that they too could soon be stripped of their bank accounts and credit cards from the Britain’s biggest banking group that also includes Halifax and Bank of Scotland.
The news comes after Olive Press reported that Barclays is set to abandon its expat customers on November 16 by terminating the accounts of anyone without a residential address in the UK.
Customers from Coutts have also confirmed they have begun to receive letters from the bank confirming that their accounts will be cancelled when the withdrawal agreement ends at 11pm on December 31.
After that date it will become illegal for UK banks to provide for British customers in the EU without applying for new banking licences – known as passporting.
Passporting would be a huge expense for banks like Barclays, Lloyds and Coutts without a deal and EU-based customers are being sacrificed as a result.
Now expats in Spain are terrified they could lose their UK bank accounts and credit cards within weeks because the government failed to negotiate post-Brexit rules.
Lloyds are yet to reveal whether their customers living in Spain will be impacted, instead saying: “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 lack of clarity has upset many customers, particularly in light of the news that Spanish expats with Barclay accounts only have until October 22 before their cards are cut off.
After that date, Barclays customers have been advised to dispose of their credit cards but continue paying back their debt with the usual interest rate.
Tommy Lee, 55, who has banked with Barclays for 15 years and lived in Alcoy for 14 of them, was horrified: “I’ve never missed a payment, ” he told the Olive Press.
“They’re just being awkward. Maybe they’re using Brexit as an excuse to get rid of expats. I don’t know what to do instead.”
“A lot of expats are using these cards to regularly live off. They need to be warned what’s coming and they better get ready. If you need credit get your act together now because this could be really serious.”
Barclays started pulling out of the EU in 2014 when it sold its retail banking business to CaixaBank for 800 million euros.
A spokesman from Barclays said: “With the UK due to leave the European Union, we can no longer offer credit cards to customers who do not have a residential UK address linked to their Barclaycard. We have written to impacted customers to give them advance notice of this decision.”