German mobile bank N26 which is backed by billionaires Peter Thiel and Li Ka-Shing, said it will end UK operations citing the country's departure from the European Union.
The Berlin-based neobank will close UK accounts on April 15, N26 said in a statement Tuesday. Customers with money in their accounts will need to withdraw or transfer it by the deadline and payments received after that date will be returned to the sender's account.
N26 blamed Brexit for the abrupt withdrawal. The firm started services in the UK in October 2018, more than two years after the country voted to leave the EU, calling the market its first outside of the eurozone. Still, the company said that the timings and framework outlined in the withdrawal agreement mean that it won't be able to operate in the UK with its EU license.
"While we fully respect the decision that has been taken, it means that N26 will in due course be unable to serve our customers in the UK and will have to leave the market," chief banking officer Thomas Grosse said in the statement.
The bank said the majority of N26's staff in the UK will move into new roles at the company.
Meanwhile, the EU swiftly rebuffed calls from the UK government that London's financial services firms should enjoy continued access to the single market even if the country breaks away from the bloc's rules after Brexit.
The UK Treasury had included the demand for so-called permanent equivalence in a draft of its opening positions for next month's trade negotiations with the EU.
"Certain people in the UK should not kid themselves about this: there will not be general, ongoing open-ended equivalence in financial services," EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.