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Post-Brexit bank changes for Brits in Sweden: Here’s what we know so far

Post-Brexit bank changes for Brits in Sweden: Here's what we know so far
The Canary Wharf financial district in London. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP
As the end of the Brexit transition period looms, the UK has so far failed to negotiate access to the European passporting scheme for banks. What does this mean for you if you're a British citizen and live in Sweden?

What's happened?

Last week, it was reported that, with just three months to go until the Brexit transition period ends, the UK has so far not managed to negotiate a continuation of EU banking rules – known as passporting.

This means that all UK banks will need to apply for new banking licences to provide certain services in each of the 27 different EU countries.

Some banks have decided it is not worthwhile to their business to continue to provide these services, and have already began informing British customers abroad that their accounts will be closed.

Which banks are affected?

Brexit doesn't mean any blanket closure of accounts for all Brits overseas. It depends on who you bank with, where you live, and what kind of account you have. 

The Local has contacted 10 major British banks, and at the time of writing had received responses from four. Santander, Lloyds, and HSBC said there were no current plans to close the accounts of customers in Sweden. Nationwide said that no decision had yet been taken. 

Barclays did not respond to The Local's request for comment, however several readers of The Local Sweden said they had been contacted by Barclaycard and told their accounts would be closed in November unless they could provide a UK billing address.

Digital bank Revolut has an EU banking licence, but currently does not have a UK one, although it has reportedly applied for one and has approval to operate in the UK post-Brexit (but this affects exactly what services are available).

If you have been contacted by your British bank, please let us know by emailing [email protected] or filling out our questionnaire.

Which types of accounts are affected?

Again, this will depend from bank to bank, because it's a question of which services the bank deems worth paying to continue.

It may be the case that only certain products become unavailable, such as credit cards or business accounts. Straightforward current/checking accounts are less likely to be closed. 

Can I provide a 'care of' British address to keep my account?

Many British people living overseas use a 'care of' address in the UK, for example the address of a relative or friend.

It is not entirely clear if this would be sufficient to prevent affected accounts from being closed.

One British reader said she had been told by Barclays that she needed to provide a UK address by November 16th to keep using her MasterCard, but she was told that providing the addresss of a relative would be sufficient.

Another reader said they were told they would have to close their Barclaycard account despite having a 'care of' contact address in the UK, because they did not have a UK billing address or residential address.

Barclaycard is separate to Barclays bank. The Local has contacted the company for further details about which customers are affected, but it has not commented on the record so far.

What have the banks said?

Here is what the banks who have responded to The Local have told us. We will update this page with any further comments we receive.

  • Santander

    A press spokesperson told The Local: “We have no current plans to close any of our retail or corporate accounts.”
     

  • Lloyds

    A press spokesperson told The Local: “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. We want to keep customers informed and offer advice on next steps.”

    Customers in Sweden are not among those who have been contacted.
     

  • Nationwide

    No decision has yet been taken. A spokesperson said: “Because the outcome of Brexit is not yet clear and the position continues to evolve, there is currently no certainty as to any actions we will be required to take. Regrettably we cannot provide any further detail on the impact on specific products and transactions at this point. However, we will communicate with members as soon as possible about any necessary changes that impact them.”
     

  • HSBC

    A spokesperson told The Local: “HSBC UK customers who reside in the EU will continue to have access to the banking and/or wealth management products and services that we currently provide to them. We are monitoring the situation closely, and will keep our customers informed in the event of changes that may impact how we are able to support them.”

    They directed customers to their Brexit Q&A for retail customers.


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