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Barclays bank put my £350,000 out of reach after Brexit changes


I have had a Barclays bank account for 40 years, but in December, when I tried to transfer money to my account here in Spain, I was unable to access it.

I discovered that, after Brexit, it had been closed by the bank. Barclays says it wrote to tell me this would happen, but I did not receive the letter.

I am currently out of work and need this money to live on. There was £350,000 sitting in my account, left to me by my father when he died seven years ago. I had considered transferring some of it to Spain, but concluded my British bank was more reliable!

I filled in the form to reclaim my money and, despite being advised it would be sent within 10 to 15 working days, it did not arrive.

After many calls to the Barclays helpline I discovered there was a problem with the documents I had sent, so I went through the process again in February. But it was to no avail.

It is now four months later, and I still have no access to my money, or an explanation as to what the problem might be.

I’m in debt and borrowing from friends to keep afloat.

NH, Barcelona

This is the third case I have dealt with that has arisen from the bank’s decision to close the accounts of non-UK residents after Brexit – but this is by far the biggest sum to be put out of reach.

Your money problems are now thankfully over, as a nudge from us helped it to reach Spain.

Barclays says: “Following a strategic review of the products and services offered by Barclays UK across the European Economic Area, a decision was made for these to only be available for customers residing in the UK. This is not a decision we take lightly, and appreciate the impact this can have on our customers.

“We had contacted our customer a number of times over the course of six months, notifying of the planned closure of the account. We can confirm the funds have since been released to our customer.”

Barclays sent you three letters in 2022 and, when no response was received, went ahead and closed the account. You accept you are not blameless as you had ignored requests for information about your tax status, and part of the hold-up was due to a problem with scanned documents you supplied.

Barclays has set up a dedicated website for customers who might be affected by this change, but it’s hard not to conclude that it has not managed these closures properly. You are relieved to have access to your funds again, but after a shocking four-month wait.

As I have said before: posting letters and then closing accounts – even when no reply comes from the account holder – does not seem good enough when large sums of money are at stake.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions



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