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BANK

No word from Citibank Sweden on rescue plan’s effects

Officials from Citigroup’s subsidiary in Sweden are staying tight lipped about how a US government stabilization plan announced on Monday might affect the US bank’s Swedish operations.

No word from Citibank Sweden on rescue plan's effects

“I can’t comment,” said Clas Rönnlöv, head of Citibank Sweden, to the TT news agency.

On Monday, federal regulators in the US approved a complex rescue plan to help Citigroup cope with massive loan losses through a $20 billion capital injection as well as loan guarantees of more than $300 billion.

Citigroup’s activities in Sweden encompass three different business lines, including a private banking operation which provides loans and credit cards for nearly 300,000 customers in the country.

“On the consumer side we have two products, unsecured loans and credit cards. So we have no deposits, rather we lend out money,” said Citibank Sweden’s spokesperson Hampus Stenberg.

When asked to elaborate on how the perilous situation for Citibank’s parent company might affect the bank’s activities in Sweden, Stenberg made reference to a statement from Citigroup in the US.

“That which is to be communicated is included in the press release,” he said.

“What I can say is that this is about confidence and that through these measures, which remove the insecurity in the markets which has been reflected in the stock price recently.”

Stenberg refused to comment on whether Citibank Sweden was in talks with Swedish authorities.

“We have an ongoing dialogue with external interests, but I’m not going to go into which ones or what has been said,” he said.

Nor did he offer any comforting words for concerned clients of the bank.

“That’s something we keep between us and our customers,” said Stenberg.

On Monday morning, there was no information on the Citibank Sweden website about the rescue package or last week’s announcement that the company was cutting 50,000 jobs.

“Citbank’s strong position in the world is a guarantee for you as a customer,” states the website.

BREXIT

Brits in EU risk losing UK bank accounts ‘within weeks’

Some of Britain's biggest banks have begun contacting customers in European Union 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.

Brits in EU risk losing UK bank accounts 'within weeks'
Lloyds Bank expects to close at least 13,000 accounts. Photo: Lloyds Bank
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. 
 
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 31st December 2020. 
 
“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.”
 
 
If a way is not found to continue pan-European banking rules, or passporting, UK banks will br breaking the law if they don't apply for new banking licenses in each European Union Country. 
 
 
Lloyds, Britain’s biggest banking group, began writing to customers in August, warning them that their bank accounts would  close down on December 31.
 
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. 
 
“In light of the UK leaving the EU at the end of 2020, we continue to review the services we offer to customers within the European Economic Area (EEA), and any impacted customers will be contacted directly,” Barclays said in a statement. “The timings for account closure will depend on the type of product that a customer holds, but we will always give notice to customers.”
 
“In the event that no alternative to the European Economic Area passporting regime for financial services is agreed between the UK and EU, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from offering our services to clients who reside in the EEA,” Coutts said. 
 
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