Britain


British expats face further lack of banking and mortgage choice

by Ray Clancy on May 17, 2016

British expats are facing fewer options when it comes to banking and getting a mortgage as more and more banks and lenders change their policies.

The Royal Bank of Scotland and its NatWest arm are the latest UK lenders to stop offering mortgages to expats. All applicants from next week, 19 May, must be resident in the UK.

A spokesman for NatWest and RBS said they would no longer offer mortgages to expats, which included those expat customers requesting additional borrowing. However, applications will still be considered from serving members of the armed forces, UK diplomats and UK consular staff.

worldPIGGYbank

Until a few years ago all the big UK lenders offered expat mortgages, but since around 2010 they have gradually being pulling out of the expat lending market. It is believed they are seeking to reduce costs despite there being a big demand for expat mortgages.

Skipton International, part of the Skipton Building Society, which is based in Guernsey still offers mortgage to expats but not in all countries, for example Australia and South Africa. But it is still a popular option for expats in Spain and France.

Indeed, the lender has seen an increase in demand from Spain for buy to let lending. It received more web enquiries for buy to let mortgages from British expats based in Spain in the first three months of 2016 than in whole of 2015.

Skipton International said that it created the buy to let mortgage in response to the difficulties overseas investors face taking out mortgages on rental property and it lends to self-employed expats as well as those on a salary.

“We have seen a big rise in the number of enquiries for buy to let mortgages from British expats resident in Spain. Demand for our expat buy to let mortgages has been growing steadily since we launched them in 2014 and we have extended our offering, opening the mortgages up to retired, and self-employed British expats, and to British expats living in more countries around the world,” said Jim Coupe, managing director of Skipton International.

But choices for expats who wish to continue banking in the UK have narrowed in the last 18 months. There are no longer any major onshore UK banks that will take money from British expats and they all state in their terms that the customer needs to be a UK resident.

Indeed, those who move abroad after opening accounts risk having them closed in the future or having new conditions imposed.

“International banking legislation continues to change and as a result, most UK high street retail banks and building societies will no longer provide new banking facilities to people living overseas,” said Richard Musty, expat banking director at Lloyds Bank.

He pointed out that a number of the major banks have expat international divisions that provide services to expats who reside outside of the UK. However, they may have strict account opening criteria depending on the country that you reside in, and also the size of the deposits that they will hold. Many specify a minimum deposit of around £5,000.

The Competition and Markets Authority is currently preparing a report on personal current account banking but it will not include a section on expats. “We received some submissions highlighting difficulties encountered by non-UK residents opening UK bank accounts. This issue is outside the scope of our investigation and indeed the work of the wider CMA,” a spokesman said.

{ 0 comments }

Thumbnail image for Committee believes rights of British expats will be in doubt if UK votes to leave EU

Committee believes rights of British expats will be in doubt if UK votes to leave EU

May 6, 2016 Britain

The rights of hundreds of thousands of British expats living in Europe would be thrown into doubt if the country votes to leave the European Union in the June referendum, according to a House of Lords Committee. A number of key issues affecting expats, including access to health care, social security, residence rights and employment […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for British expats to continue with legal challenge over EU referendum vote

British expats to continue with legal challenge over EU referendum vote

April 29, 2016 Britain

Lawyers acting for British citizens fighting a legal battle for the right to vote in the European Union referendum in June are to appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court after their arguments were rejected by two High Court judges. The case was taken to the High Court hearing on behalf of 94 year old Harry […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Poll suggests people in Europe more worried about at Brexit than the British

Poll suggests people in Europe more worried about at Brexit than the British

April 22, 2016 Britain

Much has been written already about the UK potentially leaving the European Union and its potential effect on expats with concerns and worries being expressed. But new research shows that European citizens are even more concerned about what is known as a Brexit than British people. The poll of five European countries by global research […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Poll finds two thirds of British expats in the EU are worried about impact of a BREXIT

Poll finds two thirds of British expats in the EU are worried about impact of a BREXIT

April 21, 2016 Britain

Two thirds of British expats in Europe are worried about the UK leaving the European Union, believing that such a move would have an impact on their lives. Some 68% said they were worried about a Brexit, 24% were not concerned and 8% did not know, according to the poll of expats in Spain, France, […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for British people are friendlier than their reputation suggests

British people are friendlier than their reputation suggests

April 19, 2016 Britain

When moving to a new country it is helpful when local people and those you work with are friendly as becoming an expat, especially for the first time can be daunting. The British as a nation are known for their reserve but new research shows that they are actually friendlier than you might think. But […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for British expats could know within days if they can vote in EU referendum

British expats could know within days if they can vote in EU referendum

April 11, 2016 Britain

The UK’s High Court is expected to hear arguments in the legal challenge against the UK Government over its decision to exclude British expats from the referendum on the country’s position in the European Union this week. Lawyers will argue that up to two million British expats people living in the European Union are unjustly […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for South Oxfordshire named as top rural location in the UK

South Oxfordshire named as top rural location in the UK

April 7, 2016 Britain

People moving to the UK often gravitate towards London and other big cities but it seems that South Oxfordshire is the place to live having just been voted as the top rural area in the country. People living in the area, which is not far from London, rate themselves as happy and content with a […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for British expats already feeling stressed over future of EU membership

British expats already feeling stressed over future of EU membership

March 30, 2016 Britain

Treaties would need to be put in place to recreate the current situation when it comes to tax, pensions, study and properties if the UK votes to leave the European Union in the upcoming referendum in June. There have been a variety of claims about what this would mean for British expats in Europe with […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for British expats denied right to vote in EU referendum as parliamentary move fails

British expats denied right to vote in EU referendum as parliamentary move fails

November 23, 2015 Britain

An amendment that would have given long term British expats the ability to vote in the UK’s referendum on the country’s future in the European Union has been defeated. Currently expats who have lived abroad for more than 15 years cannot vote in British elections, but there has been a major campaign for them to […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Data shows how popular the UK has become for Polish expats

Data shows how popular the UK has become for Polish expats

August 4, 2015 Britain

The popularity of the UK as a country for people from around the world is shown in new figures released by the government from the most up to date census data. One in seven people in England and Wales was born outside of the UK and in the past decade there has been a 60% […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for South West of England named as best region for retirement well-being

South West of England named as best region for retirement well-being

July 30, 2015 Britain

People who want to retire to the UK may want to consider the South West of England as it has been named as the best location for pensioner well-being. It is the place to live if you want a long, healthy and safe retirement, according to a new league table of pensioner wellbeing developed by […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for British authorities cracking down on benefit fraud

British authorities cracking down on benefit fraud

July 22, 2015 Britain

British expats who have recently moved abroad are being reminded that they must inform the UK authorities of a change in their circumstances if they are in receipt of benefits. The reminder comes amid growing concern about people moving to popular European expat locations such as France and Spain while continuing to claim money from […]

Read the full article →