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BANKING

Ex-minister snags top Swedish banking job

Ex-Social Democrat minister Thomas Östros will be the new head of the Swedish Bankers' Association (Svenska Bankföreningen), it was revealed on Wednesday.

Ex-minister snags top Swedish banking job

Thomas Östros, 47, will take the reigns as head of the group after having worked as a minister in Social Democrat-led governments between 1994 and 2006.

“The Bankers’ Association is very happy that Thomas Östros has accepted to lead the association. Thomas Östros has a solid background and extensive experience in financial markets, law, and society, both nationally and internationally,” wrote Christian Clausen, spokesman of the association, in a statement.

Östros had previously served as both minister for education, and as minister of industry and trade.

Most recently he served as the Social Democrats’ economic policy spokesperson.

Since he left his post late last year, he has refused to comment to media as to which professional direction he would take.

Östros was also mentioned during speculation about who may take over from the embattled ex-party leader Håkan Juholt in January.

However, it was revealed by daily Aftonbladet on Wednesday morning that the head of the Bankers’ Association would be his next title.

The association works with analyzing changes and laws affecting both banks and finance companies.

Östros will be making the most of the contacts he had as a minister, according to Aftonbladet, and is reportedly “delighted” to take on the new position.

“The banking sector is an important part of society and the Swedish economy. A primary assignment of the Banking Association is to ensure that we have a sound and stable bank sector in Sweden,” he told the paper.

“Another is to work for a competitively neutral regulatory framework for the bank sector. The Association will be appreciated as a constructive and meaningful partner.”

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BREXIT

Brits in EU risk losing UK bank accounts ‘within weeks’

Some of Britain's biggest banks have begun contacting customers in European Union countries, warning them that their accounts will be closed down within weeks because the cost and complexity of operating without a continuation of pan-European banking rules is too much.

Brits in EU risk losing UK bank accounts 'within weeks'
Lloyds Bank expects to close at least 13,000 accounts. Photo: Lloyds Bank
According to a report in The Times, thousands of Britons who live in Europe face being stripped of their UK bank accounts and credit cards, because of the UK government's failure to agree rules for operating after Brexit. 
 
Each of the EU's 27 member states has different rules for cross-border bank accounts which will start to apply immediately the UK's transition period ends on 31st December 2020. 
 
“In some cases, continuing to serve customers would be incredibly complex, extremely expensive and very time-consuming, and simply would not make economic sense,” a source at one British bank told the newspaper. “This is passporting — this is the reality of Brexit.”
 
 
If a way is not found to continue pan-European banking rules, or passporting, UK banks will br breaking the law if they don't apply for new banking licenses in each European Union Country. 
 
 
Lloyds, Britain’s biggest banking group, began writing to customers in August, warning them that their bank accounts would  close down on December 31.
 
The bank estimates that 13,000 customers, including those based in Holland, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal, would lose their accounts. 
 
“If customers have regular deposits into, or payments out of, their account, they will need to make other arrangements before their account is closed,” the bank said. 
 
Barclays and Coutts have also started contacting customers. 
 
“In light of the UK leaving the EU at the end of 2020, we continue to review the services we offer to customers within the European Economic Area (EEA), and any impacted customers will be contacted directly,” Barclays said in a statement. “The timings for account closure will depend on the type of product that a customer holds, but we will always give notice to customers.”
 
“In the event that no alternative to the European Economic Area passporting regime for financial services is agreed between the UK and EU, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from offering our services to clients who reside in the EEA,” Coutts said. 
 
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