British banks close UK accounts of EU expats as Brexit nears

LONDON • The UK bank accounts of thousands of British nationals living in the European Union (EU) will be closed by the end of the year as the country nears its exit from the bloc.

Banks including Lloyds Banking Group plc and Barclays plc have sent letters to customers saying their accounts will be closed. In the absence of a deal with the EU, British banks will lose their passporting rights to offer banking services across the bloc. The moves were first reported by the Sunday Times.

“Accounts will be shut and debit and credit cards voided,” said Nigel Green, founder of deVere Group, noting without a trade deal it becomes illegal for UK banks to serve British customers living in the EU without applying for new banking licences.

Lloyds has contacted its customers in countries including the Netherlands, Germany and Portu- gal, noting the bank is no longer allowed to offer them services and they should seek alternative arrangements, the Sunday Times reported.

“We have written to a small number of customers living in affected EU countries to let them know that due to the UK’s exit from the EU, regrettably we will no longer be able to provide them with some UK-based banking services,” Lloyds said in a statement. A representative at Barclays declined to comment. — Bloomberg