Expats who bank with Barclays are to be stripped of their accounts in a move that could leave some customers unable to access their savings and pensions.
British people living abroad will no longer be able to hold a Barclays UK current or savings account, the lender said.
The bank began a review of its international offerings in 2021 and is now writing to customers with a six-month warning.
Wealthy expats can open a global account with Barclays, which allows easy online access and currency flexibility, but need to maintain a balance of £100,000 in order to avoid a monthly charge of £40.
A Barclays spokesman said UK products are designed for customers living in Britain. City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it was a commercial decision as banks are allowed to set their own rules on customers which they accept.
Professor David Barker, 89, said he set up his Barclays account more than 60 years ago, when he lived in Surbiton in Greater London, and that he moved with his wife Catherine to Australia in 1988.
He uses the account to collect his English pensions and book royalties, as well as to pay direct debits to the Royal Artillery Club and two Cambridge colleges, on top of charitable donations and gifts for grandchildren.
The couple were shocked when they received a letter in April telling them their account would be closed.
Prof Barker said his wife was told by Barclays staff when she travelled to Hertfordshire that they would be able to re-register with their daughter’s UK address.
But earlier this week, he received a phone call from the bank explaining that the advice he had been given was wrong and that his account would be closed after all.
“They seem absolutely determined to get rid of our account,” Prof Barker said.
The academic said he was frustrated with the lack of advice Barclays had offered on how they could keep access to their sterling. He said the account was the basis of their family’s finances.
He said: “We are concerned about the way Barclays is handling it. I couldn’t believe that we would get a cold call telling us we would be debanked.”
The couple have been told that they will need to move all of the money out of their accounts by November 24.
There were more than one million Britons living in Australia at the end of June 2021, nearly 16pc of overseas residents, figures from the Australian government show.
In 2021, Lloyds Banking Group, which owns Halifax and the Bank of Scotland, wrote to 13,000 expats who live in Europe to tell them their accounts held in Britain would close.
Under the latest closures, those with cash ISAs and fixed-rate bonds will be able to keep their accounts unless they live in Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands or Slovakia.
The same rule applies to mortgage and loan holders with the UK wing of the bank. However, existing home loan customers will not be able to remortgage when their term ends.
Crown employees and their spouses can also keep the accounts, and the bank will allow the account to remain open if the overseas address is for someone who manages the money, such as an accountant or lawyer.
A Barclays spokesman said: “We will no longer be offering personal current or savings accounts to retail customers with addresses registered with us outside of the United Kingdom, subject to limited exceptions.
“We are contacting impacted customers to give them advance notice of this decision and explain the next steps they need to take.”
An FCA spokesman said: “Banks may set their own requirements on country of residence for account holders and must comply with local law and regulation when serving customers outside the UK.
“Whether or not banks decide to extend services to customers outside of the UK is a commercial decision for them, but we expect them to treat their customers fairly, comply with equalities legislation, and provide adequate notice to the customer if they decide to close their account.
“Customers who feel they have had their accounts closed unfairly have the right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.”
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