HSBC account closure leaves expat mystified

A FORMER Guernsey resident has questioned HSBC’s customer loyalty after it told him his local accounts would be closed.

HSBC

A FORMER Guernsey resident has questioned HSBC’s customer loyalty after it told him his local accounts would be closed.

Malcolm Reynard, 75, who now lives in Beziers in France, has complained to the company after hearing on the radio that it was to close accounts for overseas customers.

He claimed he has been given contradictory information by the bank and the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

‘It was like dealing with a stone wall all the way,’ he said about his talks with the Guernsey HSBC branch.

A spokesman for the company said HSBC plc in Guernsey said the cancellation of accounts of customers who were not residents of Guernsey was due to a change in local branch policy.

Comments for: "HSBC account closure leaves expat mystified"

Ed

I wonder if this expat was one of the This is Guernsey frequenters ?

Someblerk

I had to close my accounts with HSBC this summer after I left the Island. They were very apologetic and couldn't have been nicer about it. Made sense to me...

Mark

I live in the UK now and I've had the same letter. Closure during February. Opened an account with another bank, and won't be returning to HSBC even when I come back to Guernsey.

blondie

HSBC in Guernsey has a branch of the UK - it has a sorting code, although there is a firewall so that UK staff cant see the information (or at least there was when I worked there last year).

Historically (in the bad old days) Guernsey would open accounts for anyone (people living in France, Cyprus etc etc) but now the proposition is for locally resident personal customers and locally trading / incorporated firms.

HSBC International in Jersey is for internationally based clients and I wonder if the gentleman in question was offered their services? Or an account in France itself as HSBC have a presence there.

I can see why HSBC Guernsey would not want someone in France on the books. They cant "get close" to their client. Know your client and all that.

Ex-pat

I had an account with the Midland Bank which I opened in the late 60's. Midland was subsequently taken over by HSBC, at which time I was assured that there would be no reduction in services and indeed clients could expect bigger and better things from the new parent company. Since leaving Guernsey I have lived in NZ for a number of years, but as I return to the Channel Islands every year it has suited me to keep the account going with a modest amount of funds (about 3000 - 4000 pounds) which I top up as and when required. The account has never been in overdraft. HSBC wrote to me a month ago and advised that due to change in policy they would close the account at the beginning of March. I rang their help line to explain my situation and was told, somewhat abruptly, that the matter was entirely un-negotiable and that I had the option of transferring the funds to any other bank of my choosing or being sent a cheque for the balance as at the date of closing. There may be valid reasons for wanting to close non-resident accounts, but the way they have gone about it is a somewhat dismal return for the loyalty that I have given to the Midland / HSBC franchise for nearly 50 years.

Rosemary Le Messurier

Totally agree!

Ectopudding

I've worked in banking for 20 years, but recently got out, and I'm sorry to tell you that customer loyalty means absolutely nothing to a bank. Remember, a bank is not a person, it only consists of the ambitious who just want to deliver good figures and results to their superiors so that they can guarantee a bonus. And then there's the lower down workers who at the end of the day just want a wage.

Much more happy now in retail where customer loyalty means everything to a business.

Noel

Loyalty Banks Really!

Banks make money, care about money,think up new ways of making money and when they can't make enough money they will dump you or the staff period.

some are better than others but say this "a wolf or croc looking after a lamb"

William

HSBC closed my account without warning when I came to England as a student last year, I complained I was told I would be aloud to open an account when I come to live back in Guernsey, I'm unable to open an account in England as I'm only here when studying so my home address is in guernsey. I've been left paying for one of these stupid pay as you go cards. Ill never go back to hsbc, unfriendly and no loyalty.

Ted

Clearly you are not a student of English language or literature but I would be interested to know which subjects do not favour students who are able to write correctly in English.

Mark

I would be interested to understand what relevance your comments have to Williams post, Ted?

To me, it simply looks like you feel entitled to have a pop. Leave the boy alone, and grow up, he's not writing a bloody speech for heavens sake.

Dave B

Move to the Co-op Bank. They provide great offshore banking for expats. We recently moved from another Guernsey hight street bank who we had been with for about 30 years.

The Co-op were really helpful and did all the DD and S/O transfers for us. All done online and by post as we are over 3000kms away.

PLP

I moved to Reliance Bank from Barclays a few years ago. They may be small and not as slick as the big boys but they have everything I need from a bank with the added bonus that I know their profits aren't lining fat cat directors exorbitant salaries.

Rosie

Completely agree. The Co-op are very helpful and nothing was too much trouble when I visited them. Would highly recommend them.

Rosemary Le Messurier

I now live in Spain having held an a/c with HSBC for many years in Guernsey & was told in December that my a/c will close on the 7th March this year. As I travel to the Island frequently (spending around 3 mths each year there) & am a joint a/c holder with my daughter who is resident, have my Guernsey pension paid into the a/c so that I can cater for costs when travelling to & from the island I have written to say this closure does not make sense. 3 wks later & I'm still awaiting their decision.

Peter

Why would anyone want an account in Guernsey when they live in France? Unless its to avoid paying French tax by not declaring their offshore account. Therefore causing HSBC or other banks to be classed as supporting tax avoidance and Guernsey being classed as a tax haven.

Dave B

Peter

"Why would anyone want an account in Guernsey when they live in France" you ask. To help your understanding, they probably have both income and expenditure arising in Sterling from Guernsey and UK financial investments.

Undoubtedly in this day and age, banking regulations require they supply domestic tax numbers to the Guernsey Bank & declare any interest in their country of their residence.

It appears you wish to think the worst of the very people who have helped fund the Guernsey Economy of 3 decades. As well as Guerns who by choice live abroad so easing your housing shortage.

markB

We are not a tax haven!!... We are a "Low Tax Jurisdiction”

Aitchman

Try Lloyds TSB Offshore - they provide specific accounts for Islands residents and Expats.

vic gamble

...Peter, another of those guys who thinks everyone is avoiding tax...I pay French tax and I also pay Guernsey tax...in simple terms I am double taxed. I have a French bank account and accounts with two Guernsey banks. All interest is declared, as is any other income.I really wish people like you would stop waving your great big stupid tar brush all around the world.!

Cher Eugene

Vic, it is an unexpected pleasure to wholeheartedly agree with your view of Peter. I could not have expressed my views so politely

Peter

I think you need a good accountant. You putting up with double taxation. Don’t believe you!

Even Guernsey banks don’t believe expat’s are putting up with paying double tax. LoL. If they did they would not close the accounts.

vic gamble

Peter, I do have a good accountant. Up until 2011 all Guernsey bank interest payable to ex-pats had 20% deducted at source. The remaining balance was then taxed by, in my case, the French tax authorities. Since that time 20% retention tax has been abolished by Guernsey, but any other income created in Guernsey is taxed by Guernsey and the residual amount is then, once again, taxed by the French.

Hope this clears it up for you....perhaps you should see someone about your inflexible sceptical syndrome.

Mark

Well said Vic. Probably worth adding that even though you aren't having 20% deducted from your interest income in Guernsey anymore that interest income is automatically being reporting to the French tax office so you couldn't avoid paying the tax on it anyway.

sammy

I have been an HSBC customer for 28 yrs and have kept a couple of accounts in Gy while living in NZ , however Hsbc havent written to me as yet ? I wonder if they ever will ? Best not wait , must act .

vic gamble

That is correct Mark...but I was paying tax voluntarily in any event...what a goody goody shoes, eh!

vic gamble

...oh and another point Mark. Up to 2011 banks did not divulge the name of the account holder...they simply sent a gross sum of money, for all their clients living in France, to Guernsey Income Tax, who took a percentage and forwarded the rest to France...again with no names, or even bank source....so one could have quite happily kept the residue interest and not declared it to the French at all....there is a lot of misconception about double taxation..best to study it before offering silly advice.

JohnT

markB

Just do a search on Google for Tax Havens and you will find many sites advertising Guernsey as a Tax Haven. To keep on denying it doesnt make it right. Why do outsiders deposit cash on the island, to avoid tax, simples really.

Just found on a quick search .....

European Tax Havens

Switzerland is considered by many to be the premier offshore financial centre. Being a landlocked country, the term ‘offshore’ strikes as a little bizarre but for large deposits and substantial assets, it is one of the most secure and stable offshore jurisdictions in the world.

The Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Lichenstein and Luxembourg are tax havens which are also located within Europe and provide ease of access to European residents / companies looking to avoid tax.

Toby

Try doing a Google search for Conspiracy theories .....

You will discover that the US sent nobody to the moon ,keeps hidden a crashed UFO and aliens from Roswell, a hidden CIA gunman ( on the grassy knoll )actually killed Kennedy, George Bush deliberately destroyed the World Trade centre to justify a war in the Middle East, the US deliberately alowed the attack on Pearl Harbour to justify their entry into WWII .... and so on.

Just because someone states something on the internet doesn't mean it is true.

I deposit all my money in the UK , and don't pay ANY UK tax on it. So I would say that the UK is operating as a tax haven for me ...

Peter

Or Guernsey tax if your cleaver.

vic gamble

...good grief Peter, how'd you manage to wrangle 'your cleaver' into something so clinical and dry as tax liabilities?

Jo Campelli

Well said Toby

Terry Langlois

JohnT

You are mistaken. A UK tax resident who deposits money in a Guernsey account would have to declare any interest received to HMRC and pay tax on it to HMRC. So the use of offshore bank accounts is not tax avoidance at all - it is still subject to UK tax.

That begs the question of why onshore people use offshore accounts. It used to be because of better interest rates, but that is no longer true. The fact that there is no good answer in this question is why offshore retail banking is reducing.

Rob

I live in Hong Kong and got the same letter. I bank with HSBC here also and get charged for transferring money between my HSBC accounts which seems ridiculous.

Luckily i still maintain an account with another bank locally.

I wonder if they would be as eager to close any credit cards I had with them should they have a balance on.

Blondie

And yet they target their staff with pushing the "global" capabilities of the Bank and being "joined up", looking at the whole relationship.

Jo Campelli

Blondie we were also confused as the HSBC marketed themselves as 'The World's Local Bank' but we could not transfer funds from Guernsey to our Melbourne Branch without all the usual checks and cost etc., so we closed it a few months ago I see now that they are not using that slogan any more!!!

Dani

What I have heard is that all these people having their accounts closed joined the bank when KYC requirements were lower. Now more information is required from them and as expats tend to move around HSBC have thought it better to close the accounts than chase people up for info.

Not sure how true that is but it is an explanation I've been told.

Jo Campelli

Don't believe this is the case Dani as when we put the HSBC account into 'joint' names (2009) we both had to provide everything from scratch, as though it were a new account - so they have everything they need to know about us.

jimbo

Like any other business banks are there to make money regardless of clients' wishes.

There is no point in moralising.

Jo Campelli

Jimbo - I think this answers all (or most) questions as to why HSBC don't want us ..... I don't quite understand the use of the word moralising as to me it is very much an inconvenience at the age of 70! one really doesn't want to start over!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/hsbc-the-drug-worlds-local-bank-8406737.html

Jo Campelli

I have read all the above with interest and concern. I have been with the HSBC for 30 years + ad when I married an Australian and we decided to travel around Australia before we end up in God's Waiting Room the HSBC on the Bridge were ok with what we wanted and even put our Australian PO Box number on our account! Now I have received one of these letters - leaving me with the almost impossible job of finding a new bank Account at the age of 70! Not to mention a home for my OAP and two small superannuations. I need stg when I return to the Island to visit family and if anyone has checked the Stg/AU$ exchange lately it is not really worth the effort, or the 35.00 stg if would cost to have it send over weekly. I have written to Coventry HSBC to explain - but almost a month later I have heard nothing....I am now getting a bit desperate as March 13th sees them close both of my accounts (including a fixed 3 year bond which is my granddaughters name and held in England until she is 18)and send a cheque to me here in Melbourne!!!!!

Penny

I didn't even receive a letter. I had money go in today which I can't access as they closed my account on Friday. Nightmare. No message online. Telephone banking unhelpful. Woman on the phone told me "They had too many customers to call". How lucky for a bank to have too many customers to call and not to be worried if they stayed or left.

Jo Campelli

Penny what a dreadful thing to do - but I am not surprised as I received 'the reply' to my letter and it went along the lines of telling me that they couldn't understand why I was complaining!!! the bottom line was that they might be able to offer me an 'International' account and gave me a number to ring (dream on) and the bottom line was I could contact the Banking Ombudsman if I felt so inclined - but they would not enter into any more correspondence with me on the subject and my account will still be closed on March 13th! So I consider myself told (after 30 years of loyalty).....hopefully the Co-operative Bank Guernsey will pick up the pieces!! Or my pension might be able to be paid into Skipton Guernsey.....whatever happens it has given me a job and a half from 10,000 miles away!!!