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EU referendum: Banks limit accounts in euros as crunch EU vote nears

Danske moves to discourage any currency speculation

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Danske Bank says it is tightening access to euro currency accounts in the run-up to this week's EU referendum vote.

It said it is adopting a "more stringent review procedure when it comes to approving the opening of any new euro accounts" and with "the pending outcome of the EU referendum unknown we are closely monitoring currency flows". And, according to economist John Simpson, that could be because the bank doesn't want to "encourage" customers and businesses to begin currency speculation, and move money into euros, given the assumption sterling's value will plummet in the event of Brexit. "What Danske Bank appears to be saying is, they don't want temporary customers simply moving money if the vote goes the wrong way, and the pound falls," he said.

"It's a sensible policy, and they are not going to encourage currency speculation."

A Bank of Ireland UK spokeswoman said it was continuing to offer euro deposit and savings accounts for both personal and business customers.

An Ulster Bank spokeswoman said euro accounts were still open to existing customers but terms and conditions applied.

First Trust said it was still offering euro accounts to business customers with sterling accounts.

Meanwhile, one of Northern Ireland's top business leaders says there will be "less inward investment" and the "threat of significant job losses" in the event of a Brexit.

United Dairy Farmers chief executive and Belfast Harbour chairman David Dobbin stated he was "voting to stay in the EU" and that he was "urging others to do so".

He warned farmers would receive less in the event of Brexit, and that “many other companies say they will be adversely affected if Britain leaves the EU”.

“The fact that billions have been wiped off share values with just the threat of a Brexit vote is clear evidence of the economic damage which markets expect should we leave,” he said.

Mr Dobbin also warned that without a return to border controls with the Republic “then Northern Ireland will be wide open to EU immigrants and if that is the case then we might face more stringent border controls on travel from Northern Ireland to the Great Britain.”

And another voice in the Remain camp, animal food giant Devenish Nutrition, has warned that leaving the EU would represent a “massive and unnecessary risk to our business environment in combination with a lengthy period of political and economic uncertainty”.

“We see potential for improvements to the legislation and regulation of the EU and believe this can best be achieved if the UK votes to give our Government a mandate to continue to be a key driver of positive and well-considered change within the EU,” it said.

But campaigning for the UK to exit the EU, Ciga Healthcare boss Irwin Armstrong, once again blasted its “anti-competitive and protectionist” trading rules.

Meanwhile, leading American business consultant Frank Costello, says Northern Ireland’s efforts to win inward investment will be “blown out of the water” if there’s a Brexit.

Mr Costello, who runs a transatlantic consultancy advising US and local firms, said the competitive advantage of a cut in corporation tax would mean little if Britain leaves the EU.

Also in favour of remaining in the EU, a spokesman for Lakeland Dairies, which recently took on Fane Valley Dairies in Banbridge, said: “The EU referendum is one for the electorate to decide based on their informed and thoughtful consideration of the overall debate.”

Belfast Telegraph