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BANK

Sweden chips in for Iceland bailout

Sweden has joined neighbours Denmark, Norway and Finland in signing loan deals worth €1.78 billion ($2.52 billion) for crisis ridden Iceland.

Payouts will be dependent on the Icelandic economy’s progress, the four nations said in a joint statement.

The loans, which were first announced in November and have been approved by the parliaments and governments of the four countries, are in addition to a $2.1 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A North Atlantic island of just 320,000 inhabitants, Iceland suffered a major economic blow in October when its three main banks collapsed, bringing to a screeching halt a decade of prosperity as the state took over the banks.

Thousands of Icelanders lost their jobs and their savings as a result.

“Signing of the agreements does not imply immediate disbursement of the Nordic loans,” the countries said.

“Disbursement of the loans will be in four equal tranches tied to the first four reviews of Iceland’s IMF programme with the payment of each tranche conditional on the approval of the relevant review,” they said.

Iceland reached an agreement in early June with Britain and the Netherlands to reimburse funds forked out by London and The Hague to compensate those who lost money in the collapse of the online Icelandic bank Icesave.

Lack of agreement on that issue has delayed the IMF’s first review.

Iceland’s snap elections in April, which brought the leftist government to power, also contributed to the delay.

The IMF’s board is now expected to complete its first review in August, the body’s permanent representative in Iceland, Franek Rozwadowski, told Icelandic daily Morgunbladid on Tuesday.

The IMF has already disbursed about 850 million dollars, and eight tranches of $155 million each will follow each review.

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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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