October 8th, 2008
12:50 AM GMT
LONDON, England - If, like me, you are one of the 350,000 British or Dutch nationals who have savings accounts with Internet bank Icesave, you're probably pretty angry right now.
Iceland's second-largest bank, Landsbanki, the parent company of Icesave, says that it has gone into receivership and that the Icelandic Financial Services Authority has appointed a receivership committee. The Icelandic government stepped in to take control of the bank on Tuesday to keep it afloat, just days after Icesave was posting messages on its Web site reassuring savers that the bank was solvent and immune to the worst effects of the credit crisis because it didn't have exposure to the toxic U.S. sub-prime mortgage market.
Today, Icesave's customers were greeted by a message informing them that the bank was unable to process deposits or withdrawal requests. If the company is liquidated thousands of customers like me, with deposits under £50,000, are likely to face a long and stressful wait to retrieve their money.
Lured by attractive Icelandic interest rates I had just under £10,000 of savings deposited with Icesave. We'd worked hard to put it by and intended to use the money for non- budgeted items like home maintenance and improvements, family holidays and car repairs. It's money that I don't need in the short term, unlike other Icesave customers who had pension funds and home purchase deposits invested there.
For many of the bank's customers today will have been their first taste of the effects of the global financial crisis. Let's hope we won't have to experience many more.
If you've been affected by the collapse of Icesave, I can't help you get your money back but I can offer you the opportunity to share your experience with us and vent your frustration. Were we foolish to be lured by the kind of interest rates that simply aren't on offer in the UK or the Netherlands? Who do you think is to blame? Hit the comment button below and tell me your story. Getting it out there just might help you feel a little less sore.
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