NatWest customers were unable to buy foreign currency from the bank for nearly six months after travel money provider Ice went bankrupt
- Ice’s UK branch collapsed into administration last October
- The company provided foreign exchange to NatWest and its private bank Coutts
- NatWest declined to reveal how much it usually earns in foreign currency
- The bank ‘hopes’ to offer the service again later this year
NatWest customers were unable to buy foreign currency from their bank for nearly six months after travel fund provider Ice went bankrupt.
Ice, whose British arm collapsed into administration last October, provided foreign currency to NatWest and its blue-blooded private bank Coutts.
But since the company closed, anyone trying to buy travel money from NatWest will have come away empty-handed.
Supply chain issues: Since Ice shut down, anyone trying to buy travel money from NatWest will be left empty-handed
In the foreign exchange section of the bank’s website, an error message reads: “Our travel money service is currently unavailable.
“Due to supply chain issues, we are currently unable to process travel orders online or over the phone. We can redeem the remaining currencies at our branches.
The managing director of a travel money company said it was “a bit chaotic” that NatWest had been unable to offer the service for almost six months.
NatWest declined to disclose how much it usually earns selling foreign currency to travellers.
With the easing of travel restrictions post-pandemic, NatWest will want to capitalize on travelers’ foreign currency needs.
A spokesperson said NatWest hopes to offer the service again later this year.
Ice, founded as a single site in 1973, was owned by five members of the entrepreneurial Tejani family. When it went bankrupt, deprived of income by lack of travel, administrators of Teneo were appointed.
They couldn’t find a buyer, so some pieces were sold back to the Tejanis to help collect money for its creditors – including Barclays, one of its lenders, and the taxman. But it has been decided to close all UK branches of Ice.
The hole in its travel money offer is another blow for NatWest, which has struggled through a tough few months.
A court last week found the bank discriminated against a former employee on the basis of her disability, when it fired her just two days after undergoing surgery for a bowel cancer.
And last year NatWest was fined £265m for money laundering failures.
The lender hopes its outlook will improve this year as the Bank of England raises interest rates.
Last Friday, NatWest released its full-year results for 2021, which showed profits rebounded to £3bn from a £753m loss in 2020.