Friday, December 10, 2010

Bank Accounts

A correspondent has drawn attention to the following link.
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/

This ‘forum’ location deals with money matters and it has the headline that if you can, in 50 words, state some improvement in money matters for the British Consumer then the three leaders of the main British political parties have promised to consider such proposals.

I have written the following:-

“It should be illegal for any UK based financial institution to refuse to open an account for any British Citizen resident in the European Economic Area on the basis of non-residence in the UK.
The banks impose this restriction giving problems for expatriate pensioners dependent on income in sterling.”

It would be possible for anyone else to add some proposals relating for example to the non-payment of the Winter Fuel Payment to certain expatriates, or to question a review of the payment for health costs for expatriates, or a review of the Double Taxation Convention with France. I fear all these are complicated matters, but it might draw the attention of the politicians to these issues – maybe.

The topic I raise here has been raised before several times. [See Concern 1 via the Index.] Briefly.. British banks will not open an account for you if you do not live in the UK. If you need an account, as you almost certainly do if your income originates in the UK then you are ‘up a gum tree’. It could be that your existing bank has gone bust or it is non-competitive - and therefore you need one!
On a related but somewhat different matter, I have recently been informed that Lloyds TSB wishes to close Bank of Scotland offshore accounts in Jersey. This is a cussed bind for those who have such accounts. It makes movement of monies between on-shore and offshore accounts more tiresome. One may wish to change all accounts to another bank to smooth this procedure. You would not be able to do this because the UK based banks will not open an UK based account for non-residents.
Further, it is not easy for British citizens returning to the UK to open a fully functional account because they cannot demonstrate that they have been resident for some length of time. This even happened to an ex-bank manager!