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Home » Dementia Patient Left Cut Off From Money As Barclays Close Account ‘without Warning’

Dementia Patient Left Cut Off From Money As Barclays Close Account ‘without Warning’

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Dementia suffered Olive Lynch was left struggling to pay her hospital fees after Barclays closed her bank account because she lives away from the United Kingdom.

The 82-year-old still has no access to her money over a month after discovering her bank account had been shut. Olive, a British citizen who lives in Barbados, was completely blindsided by the decision, reports The Mirror.

She reportedly received no letters from the bank over the past two years. Although, Barclays claimed it had attempted to reach out to Olive.

Her daughter Fiona Lynch Griffith is now concerned about how long it will take the funds – around £20,000 – to be released back to Olive. She told the Mirror: “I just can’t see how a bank can close an elderly, vulnerable person’s account without letting them know.”

Fiona says Olive’s memory and cognitive skills began to decline last year, and she was formally diagnosed with vascular dementia in May. Two months later Fiona became her power of attorney two months later, and decided to immediately seek advice from a Barclays branch in central London.

However, despite Fiona visiting the bank numerous times, she was still being told to wait weeks for the funds to be released. Fiona explained: “I started this process on July 4. My mum’s got a huge hospital bill to pay and it’s been a nightmare.

“We just needed to know when the money is coming – I didn’t think it was unreasonable for them to tell me that.”

Olive retired in 1993 and moved to Barbados with her husband Nigel in August the following year. After querying why her mum and dad’s joint account was closed, Fiona was told that it was because their address was outside of the UK

On its website Barclays states that, for an account to remain open, thhey need to “live in the UK and all the addresses we have for you also need to be in the UK”. It adds: “You don’t need to do anything if one of your addresses is outside the UK and we haven’t contacted you.

“If this changes, we’ll give you as much notice as we can if you need to take any action. We’ll also make closing your accounts as simple as possible.”

The bank states anyone with an account that is closed claim their balance plus any interest they may have earned since. This can be done online, via post or visiting a branch, it says.

It says UK Crown employees and their spouses are exempt, as are people whose power of attorneys, accountant or lawyers have an address for the account outside the UK and those abroad on a temporary basis for six months or less, who will be moving back to the UK.

While Fiona doesn’t dispute the reasoning behind her mum’s account closure, she believes that the bank needs to communicate more with those affected, and provide them with notice well in advance. She said: “My mum is still a British citizen – her pension is paid into that account which she has had for 40 years, maybe more.

“A lot of people are saying that people in the EU who had a Barclays bank account that had been closed were given six months notice to transfer the money, but clearly there’s an issue in the West Indies. I know of three other people that this is happening to – one of whom had to fly to the UK to sort out her money as she didn’t have a representative to help her.

“Barclays has gone so far as to blame the postal system in Barbados, but my parents haven’t received any letters from them in years, from statements to anything notifying them of closure. I’ve been to their home myself and seen that there’s been no correspondence since 2021.”

Barclays however says it wrote to Olive and Nigel in November last year, then twice again to provide advance notices. It remains unclear however why these were not delivered.

After visiting the bank’s branch in London last month, Fiona said she was told that her power of attorney (POA) documents had just been received, and needed to be processed. A few days later, on July 8, she was told the POA had been recognised by the bank, and was given the balance of her mum and dad’s joint account.

On July 19, Fiona was then told to fill in an online form to retrieve the funds. A resolution was then said to take up to 15 working days.

She received a letter acknowledhing the claim on July 26. Barclays then requested certified ID and documentation from Fiona’s parents, but she explained that this was nearly impossible because they are housebound.

After being asked whether the money could be deposited into her account because she had certified documentation, Fiona was told that this could take up to 12 weeks. After the Mirror contacted Barclays, this was reduced to three to five working days.

She said: “My mum has picked up conversations I’m having with my father and she’s extremely distressed by all of this. We have to keep assuring her that the money is coming soon but it’s a worry. There are obviously other people in this position too, which is concerning. At no point has Barclays notified my mum that they were going to do this.”

A Barclays spokesman said: “It is evident that on this occasion we have failed to provide the high levels of service that our customers can expect to receive, and we apologise for the inconvenience this has caused to our customer. As a ring fenced bank, our Barclays UK products are designed for customers within the UK.

“We wrote to our customer in November 2022, followed by two further letters that provided advance notice that we will no longer be offering services to personal current or savings accounts to customers with addresses outside of the UK, and explaining the next steps they need to take. We are working closely with our customer’s representative and will ensure the funds are swiftly sent to the chosen account, together with an additional payment for the inconvenience caused.”