British expats are faced with the prospect of fewer banking options and the same when it comes to obtaining expat mortgages as further policy changes continue to be made by a number of banks and lenders.
Expat mortgages options dwindling
The latest UK lenders to stop offering mortgages to expats are the Royal Bank of Scotland. From this week, all applicants to RBS MUST be resident in the UK.
A spokesman for RBS has been reported as saying that they would no longer offer mortgages to expatriates. This will include expats looking for additional borrowing but applications may still be considered from members of the armed forces, consular staff and those of diplomatic status.
Until relatively recently all of the major lenders in the UK were willing to offer mortgages to expat customers. Over the last five years however, lenders have gradually been retreating from the expat market as they look to reduce their costs.
There remains a high level of demand for expat mortgages however.
Limited bank account options
Some options still exist on the market but the choice for expats who wish to continue banking in the UK have narrowed dramatically in recent years. 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.
In fact, it is now understood that those who move abroad after opening UK accounts risk having them closed in the future or having new conditions imposed.
A number of the major banks have expat international divisions specifically to provide services to expats who reside outside of the UK but these often have strict account opening criteria depending on the country that the customer resides in. Minimum deposits are often high.
The Competition and Markets Authority is currently preparing a report on personal current account banking but it will not include a section on expats.