Customers residing in Cyprus have slammed the bank for the move, which has left many scrambling to book flights back to the UK to try to sort out the mess.
The bank is introducing a new minimum threshold for clients in Cyprus of £100,000, with effect from 11 September 2015.
Barclays have confirmed to the press, that as well as customers in Cyprus, those in Malta have also been contacted, and those in Greece are also on the list.
Expats will find it difficult to open another UK-based current account, especially if they don’t have a UK address, as banks will ask for proof of address, such as a recent utility bill.
Many retirees living in Cyprus are loyal Barclays customers, banking with them for decades. Some have their pensions paid into their UK account on a monthly basis. They have now been given notice of closure or find £100,000 to deposit in their account.
A spokesman for Barclays told the Cyprus Mail: “This isn’t about not providing services to expats, it’s about a de-risking programme that was put in place at the end of 2013 to review and reduce the number of countries we operate in. We haven’t taken this decision lightly and are not looking to simply exit these customers (as Cyprus is still one of the core set of markets we’re focusing on). We’re actively working with our customers to review alternative arrangements, helping them through the transition and giving extensions where we can to find further funds.”
Barclays say they are focusing on a core set of 70 markets globally, where they believe they have the most knowledge and expertise. They also put the latest move down to ‘risk appetite.’ “We are very happy in many countries to provide expat services, it’s more about the risk associated with certain countries. As a result of this decision and in line with our strategy we are introducing a new minimum threshold for customers resident in Cyprus, and they will need to maintain £100,000 across their accounts with us.”
The bank said that the minimum threshold will apply not only to Cyprus and Malta but also to Greece, although ‘out of consideration for the current situation we’re not closing accounts for Greek residents at this time.’
Source: Cyprus Mail