Digital bank N26 closes UK business following Brexit

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Digital bank N26 closes UK business following Brexit

N26, a Berlin-based digital, or neo bank is closing its UK arm following Britain's withdrawal from the EU at the end of last month.

The fintech company-turned-challenger bank said Brexit meant its model of cross-border transfers across different currencies was incompatible with their European banking licence.

N26 said the "timing and framework" of the UK Withdrawal Agreement made it impossible to continue.In a statement on its website, the company said: "With the UK having left the EU at the end of January, we will in due course no longer be able to operate in the UK with our European banking licence. As such we can no longer open new N26 accounts and will be closing existing accounts on 15 April 2020." 

While we respect the political decision that has been taken, it means that N26 will be unable to serve our customers in the UK and will have to leave the market."

"We are sorry to be leaving and we understand this will be disappointing for our customers."

N26 was founded in 2013 and had built up a base of around 200,000 UK clients and 2.5 million internationally. In 2019 the fintech bank was ordered by German regulator BaFin to improve its processes relating to fraud, and the company closed several accounts suspected of money laundering. 

Thomas Grosse, chief banking officer at N26, said: "While we respect the political decision that has been taken, it means that N26 will be unable to serve our customers in the UK and will have to leave the market."

Rival digital banks Revolut, TransferWise and Monzo all have UK banking licences. 

N26 UK accounts will contiue to function until 15 April.

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Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.