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Barclays set to cull hundreds of expat bank accounts in Cyprus, Malta and Greece

Published: 20 July 2015

Barclays set to cull hundreds of expat bank accounts in Cyprus, Malta and Greece

Global bank Barclays are set to close bank accounts belonging to expats in certain countries if they don’t deposit £100,000 into their account.

The news came to light as the bank has sent letters to a number of British expat most at risk from the account closures in certain countries.

Barclays stated that the move is part of a global strategy to focus on providing a banking service in a limited number of countries, which don’t include Cyprus, Malta or Greece – unless the individual is classed as “high net worth” (i.e. has deposits of over £100,000).

Speaking to Stephanie McGovern on BBC Breakfast, Mike Foster - the Managing Partner at Knight Hayes PCS who are part of the Experts for Expats network of advisers - said that the move is not uncommon. He said “Expats have always faced challenges when managing their finances abroad. Banks are selective about which expats can have a bank account when they move abroad, but typically treat each situation on a case-by-case basis.”

Other banks, such as HSBC, already have minimum deposits required to open expat bank accounts so the move is not as surprising as some media outlets are claiming.

The news is none-the-less upsetting for the many expats faced with the news that their accounts may be closed in the coming months, and Barclays have said that they will offer the expats affected more time to make the necessary arrangements to move their money elsewhere.

Although many banks are refocusing like Barclays there are still many options to Expats around the world in regards to who they can bank with, with many of the less traditional banks offering expats the ability to open UK bank accounts without being residents and with smaller minimum balances required. 

It is also worth discussing possible international moves with banks whilst still being resident in the UK to understand their position on dealing with clients once they have left the country.  This could be down to the country you are moving to and some guidance is advisable.  

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