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Swann warns students to beware of hidden costs of overseas bank accounts

Robin Swann, Ulster Unionist Party MLA and Chairperson of the Stormont Employment and Learning Committee, has urged students to be very aware of any hidden costs relating to overseas banks.

 Mr Swann issued his warning as part of his campaign to raise awareness for students who are studying abroad about issues regarding foreign banks.

 The North Antrim MLA said:

 “I have been contacted recently by several graduates who are having on-going issues with banks which they had accounts with when they were studying abroad.

 “One past student lived in Belgium from 2007 to 2008 and had left thinking that their account had been closed and that was the end of that chapter in their life.

 “However in this past year, they received correspondence from the bank stating that they were in debt to the bank for 36 euros. They had ignored this letter as they did not feel it was legitimate due to a photocopied signature and its generic tone.

 “The bank then involved a judicial agent who was able to outline that the bank commenced monthly charges on the account from 2011- without the knowledge of the account holder.

 “I would advise anyone who has been abroad for any length of time and opened a bank account, that if they have left the country and do not intend returning, to ensure that they have given written notice to the bank to close the account.

 “If there are concerns, get in contact with the Financial Ombudsman of that country and make sure that the account is explained fully to you as there may be costs in maintaining a bank account.”

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