Point Of Zero Return For Expat Savers

Expat savers with Britannia International are set to get a zero return from variable rate savings accounts.

The take-over of the old Britannia Building Society, of which the international arm was a part, is blamed for the near-collapse of The Co-op Bank, and bosses are taking desperate measures to try to claw back cash and put the Co-op on a level footing.

Isle of Man based Britannia International has already announced ratcheting down variable account interest rates to zero by July 8, 2014 and that the accounts will be shut from February 28, 2015.

Expats would be mad to keep their cash in an account that is costing them money once charges, if any, and inflation are considered.

Savers with fixed rate deals remain unaffected. The contracts will run their full course and pay interest as agreed in the terms at the outset of the transaction.

The Co-op has already closed its own offshore branch in Guernsey.

Offshore savings

Expats with accounts should contact administrators the Butterfield Trust to deal with any outstanding balances. Savers can call them on +44 (0) 1481 711521.

As the offshore banking market shrinks for expats, savers with the Norwich & Peterborough Building Society in Gibraltar also have to shift their cash as the branch is closing variable rate accounts at the end of 2014.

Again, fixed rate deals will continue to their finishing date paying the full amount of interest.

Banks and building societies offering expats offshore variable rate accounts include Santander, Barclays, Skipton International, Lloyds and the Nationwide.

Interest rates range from 0.50% to 1.25% for deposits of between £1 and £100,000 – but watch out for the highest paying accounts as many include a bonus and pay lower rates for smaller amounts placed on deposit.

£50 bank notes withdrawn

Expats with a stash of Sterling need to check their £50 notes. From May 1, 2014, the Bank of England is withdrawing notes featuring Sir John Houblon. The £50 note with Matthew Boulton and James Watt remain in circulation.

Barclays, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank and the Post Office will swop notes in £200 batches until October 30, 2014.

After that date, any notes will have to go to the Bank of England, which will exchange the Houblon £50 notes and many other withdrawn notes for current legal tender.

The Bank accepts notes by post – the address is Bank of England, Threadneedle Street,  London EC2R 8AH.

Click here to check out what the Houblon £50 notes and Boulton/Watt £50 notes look like.

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