UK expat pensioner, 83, furious as Barclays withholds £4,000 due to Brexit account closure

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The unnamed woman – who lives in Italy – was unable to get her cash after the bank closed her account on December 28 just days before the Brexit transition period ended. Her daughter wrote to the Guardian and complained that her mother was “one of a number of people who live in Europe and have had their UK accounts similarly closed”.

She added: “All of her attempts to get her £4,000 balance back have so far failed.

“Barclays sent her an online registration last autumn, but failed to send her a password to allow her to access the account before it was closed.

“She has since asked for the money to be paid into her Italian account, but it never seems to happen.

“We have called so many times trying to resolve this, and complied with all requests.

“I even sent the required documentation to the UK via DHL and asked a friend to deliver them by hand to Barclays, but it had no effect.

“My mother cannot travel to the UK to retrieve the money, and we despair of ever seeing it again.”

Since the Brexit transition period ended in January – UK banks have closed thousands of accounts of Brits living in the EU.

Before this they were allowed to trade as part of the European Economic Area (EEA), as all member countries use the same regulatory framework.

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Known as “passporting”, it meant that Brits living in EU countries were able to use credit cards and bank accounts from UK-based banks.

This all ended on 31 December, making it impractical in the eyes of many banks to keep lots of current accounts going.

Speaking to Which? UK Finance said that losing customers was a last resort for banks.

But a spokesman added: “Where possible, firms want to keep providing banking services to customers living in the EEA after the transition period.

“The impact on each customer will vary depending on the operating model of their bank or provider, the product or service being provided, and the legal and regulatory framework in the country in which they are resident.”

After the Guardian contacted Barclays it apologised and refunded the woman the £4,000 into her Italian account.

It told the paper it needed the documents to establish her identity, as “the protection of our customers’ funds and data is one of our highest priorities”.

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