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UK Savers: Plan Ahead For a Banks Bankrupcy

UK Savers Need to Plan Ahead For a Banks Going Bankrupt

My focus from this point forward will be on the risks of UK's bankrupt banks bankrupting Britain, whilst the risk is relatively low at about 17%, however there is the contagion factor where a cascade of bankrupting Eurozone countries that UK banks are exposed to such as Spain, Italy or even France would bring Britain down with them. Especially as Britain would NOT survive a collapse of the Euro-zone which many UK Euro-skeptic politicians gleefully look forward to without contemplating the consequence in terms of the accompanying collapse of economic activity that would make the Great Recession of 2008-2009 look like a picnic.

However the UK going bankrupt would not mean that the government would default on its debts, instead it would seek to inflate them away at a far faster pace than it already is with real inflation reaching in the region of 20% per annum, which given recent trends in inflation implies a CPI of about 10% as the earlier inflation graph illustrates. However a bankrupting state would mean savers would not only lose the value of their savings as inflation erodes it by as much as 20% per annum. But that the government would seek to restructure bank debt which means bond holders would take a hit and in a worse case scenario the government would be forced into nationalisation and restructuring the whole banking sector which means that savers could lose deposits upto the FSA limit of £50,000 per banking group.

Whilst the worst case scenario at this point in time is not on the horizon, however that does not mean that savers would be fully protected if a country such as Spain goes bust where a bailout would require it's banks be restructured including loss of depositor cash upto a certain limit as occurred following Iceland's bankruptcy. In such an eventuality given the size of UK depositor funds with the likes of Spain's Santandar, the government may be forced to only cover UK depositors upto the FSA limits.

Santandar and other foreign banks have been allowed to run amok amidst Britain's retail banking sector as a consequence of an incompetent regulator and a desperate government eager for anyone to take on the responsibility of restructuring a string of bankrupt banks which allowed Santandar to gobble up a string of UK small to medium sized banks which now poses a real risk to UK depositors.

The only way people can protect themselves against a risk of bankruptcy triggering the FSA limit protections is by ensuring that deposits per banking GROUP are under the FSCA compensation limits which are currently £50,000, and from 1st of January 2011 will rise to Euro 100,000 or about £83,000.

However savers with amounts deposited above the guaranteed limits need to ensure that they have measures in place well ahead of a banking crisis to ensure that they survive one both in terms of the ability to transact business as well as ensuring total funds exposed are LESS than the banking limits at the time of a bank run.

Still think I am scare mongering ?

Did you know that funds deposited by some 2 million UK depositors with the Post Office are not guaranteed by the UK FSCS ? Which are in fact guaranteed by the Irish government. This illustrates why savers need to be aware of the risks and make appropriate contingency plans for when the SHTF. Now for some good news for Post Office savers, the Bank of Ireland (operates Post Office accounts) is in the process of transferring its Post Office depositor base to fully fall under the UK regulator and compensation scheme as per a statement of 1st November 2010, with more clarification pending.

However UK savers HAVE been blindly thinking for the past 2 years that their savings were safe in the British Post Office, when all along they were no more secure than in any other Irish bank so could have just as easily woken up to a shock Iceland style.

UK Savers Emergency Plan:

a. Ensure that you have at least 2 current accounts across banking groups.

b. That you have procedures in place to ensure that you can act fast to initiate transfer of funds from instant access savings accounts, especially if your total funds with a particular banking group exceeds £50k / £83k (1st Jan 2011).The best strategy is to limit exposure per banking group to the limit.

c. Do not have ANY savings are fixed deposit exposure to banks that do not fall under the UK Financials Services Compensation Scheme.

d. Limit exposure to PIIGS banks, that is Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy as these are at the most risk of going bust thus triggering a lengthy process of Savers having to wait for compensation.

The following list represents Britians' largest deposit taking banking groups and the banks that fall under each.

Note whilst banking groups may have multiple licences as a consequence of mergers and takeovers, however they also may be in the process of merging licences so for ultimate safety one should remain focused on banking groups.


Lloyds TSB Bank
AA Savings
Bank of Scotland / HBOS
Birmingham Midshires
Capital Bank
Cheltenham & Gloucester Savings
Intelligent Finance

Santandar bank
Abbey National
Asda Savings
Alliance and Leicester
Bradford and Bingley
Nationwide Building Society

Nationwide Building Society
Cheshire Building Society
Derbyshire Building Society
Dunfermline Building Society

Barclays Bank
Standardlife Bank

First Direct
Marks and Spencer Financial

Allied Irish Bank
First Trust


Co-operative Bank
Unity Trust Bank
RBS Group

Royal Bank of Scotland
Nat West Bank
Direct Line Savings
The One Account
Ulster Bank
Additional comments

Foreign Banks under UK FSCS Scheme - ICICI (India), First Save (Nigeria)
Small business are covered by the FSCS on the basis of 2 of following 3 conditions - upto a turnover of 6.5 million, less than 50 employees, balance sheet total not more than £3.26 million
Banks not under the UK FSCS.

Post Office - Currently Guaranteed by the Irish Government, pending coming under the UK FSCS.

ING Direct, Tridos - Dutch

Anglo Irish, Bank of Ireland - Ireland
Don't delay! Act today to form a quick personal savings protection contingency plan, otherwise you may wake up one day to find yourselves locked out of your funds Iceland style!

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