German digital bank N26 pulls out of UK, blaming Brexit

Wednesday 12 February 2020 13:31 CET | News

The Germany-based digital bank N26 is has blamed Brexit for its decision to pull out of the UK and close more than 200,000 customer accounts.

The lender has given customers less than two months to move their money, with all UK accounts to be closed by 15 April 2020. It has also stopped offering new accounts to UK residents. The move comes less than 18 months after the digital bank launched in the UK. It had about a dozen employees in the UK, with the rest of the business run remotely from the German capital.

The “challenger bank”, which has attracted investors including the US and Hong Kong billionaires Peter Thiel and Li Ka-shing, and the Chinese tech giant Tencent, blamed Brexit for its decision to leave the UK. As The Guardian explains, as recently as October 2019, N26 was publishing blogposts assuring customers that it would continue in the UK after Brexit. Those posts have since been deleted.

The bank – which has 5 million customers in the EU – was relying on passporting rights that allowed it to use its German licence to operate in the UK. It originally planned to take advantage of the British regulator’s temporary permissions regime to continue operating in the country after Brexit. Those rules allow EU financial services companies to continue operating after the transition period ending on 31 December 2020, giving them three years to apply for a formal licence.

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Keywords: N26, Brexit, United Kingdom, bank, digital bank, challenger, Tencent, UK, online banking, online bank, challenger bank, digital banking, neobank
Categories: Banking & Fintech | Online & Mobile Banking
Countries: United Kingdom
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Banking & Fintech