Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 15:29 UK

Savers' frustration over Icesave freeze

Icesave website
Icesave announces freezing of customer accounts

The Icelandic internet bank Icesave is expected to go into insolvency.

UK customers have around 4bn invested in the company. They have been warned they will probably have to claim their savings back through compensation schemes.

Some of the bank's customers have been telling BBC News about their fears.


"I am not a banker or high earner and I worked hard for my savings. I have around 100,000 in bonds with Icesave that according to my terms and conditions I can't withdraw for another two years."

Emma Durnford says she is worried about what will happen to her savings if the bank goes into insolvency because the UK government is only guaranteeing savings up to 50,000.

"I have logged on to the website and I can view my account and the transactions but I can't move or withdraw any money...I did a lot of research before choosing Icesave and in September 2007 their credit rating was high and they looked very secure."

Mrs Durnford said the obvious thing for everyone now was to make sure they didn't have more than 50,000 in any account.

"I don't feel very good at the moment especially since the line from the Icelandic Prime Minister keeps changing.

"I will worry until I hear something hard and fast about what will happen.

"Icesave hasn't handled the situation very well. I found out on the BBC website that it was in trouble.

"I think they need to start communicating and reassuring people about the situation."


John Clarke has money in various Icesave accounts. He has an instant access savings account and an ISA.

"Before the weekend I started looking into moving money from the Icelandic bank. I was particularly concerned about the situation in Iceland, with the news coming from there that their bank system was failing.

John Clark

"Secondly, I was worried about how long it would take to get my money back if the bank failed - and thirdly, if that would mean that interests would be suspended.

"I feel a lot more comfortable with my money in UK institutions."

Mr Clarke had managed to move most of his money before the website started reporting technical glitches.

"I had about 5,000 left in the instant savings account, but I think I have managed to move that money now after finding a loophole on the net.

"I'm leaving a minimal amount in the account still just so that we don't lose any interests before we close the account down fully."

Mr Clarke says he still has to look into moving his father's ISA to another provider.


"I first found out about the problems at Icesave when I switched on BBC News this morning.

"I have since then logged on and seen the message on the website and I've not been able to withdraw any money"

Martin Scully has around 2,000 in a savings account which he uses to pay his tax bill at the end of the year.

"If I don't get my money back by the time I have to pay my bill, I will struggle to find the money to cover it."

Mr Scully said he had not received any communication from the bank and that he has already cancelled his direct debit.

"I want to close the account down and move the money from it to a UK-based bank."


"This is looking bleaker by the day. With rumours that Iceland is on the brink of bankruptcy, many UK depositors - myself included - face losing vast sums of money.

"Governments have encouraged people to save rather than borrow, but even this seems an unsafe option now.

"The end result can only be shattered confidence in the financial markets with future borrowing being on strict terms - perhaps 2,000 credit card limits secured on your home? - and a return to the habits of the 1930s/40s with people saving cash in biscuit tins in the airing cupboard.

"Governments need to stop 'talking' and start 'doing' to avert a complete meltdown."


"I have the bulk of my family's savings with Icesave, having moved from ING .

"I have 50,000 in a fixed-rate, one year deal which I can't touch till January, so everything in my easy access account is vulnerable.

"The bulk of this is required to pay large bills for work on my house over the next month or two.

"I withdrew 37k on Friday at 4 pm and will require large sums in instalments over the next few weeks.

"I made a conscious decision to leave my money with Icesave and not add to the panic, but I will lose out whatever the eventual security of my deposits if I can't withdraw money for legitimate reasons to pay bills.

"I find that though the first money has left my Icesave account, it hasn't turned up in my bank account, which incidentally leaves me perilously close to being overdrawn.

"I can understand Icesave and/or the Icelandic government wanting to stop withdrawals because of panic, but it leaves someone like myself in a lose/lose situation. What happens if I can't pay my builder?

"I find it frustrating that Icesave is in this position when it hasn't lent recklessly like Northern Rock, hasn't betrayed its customers, but I guess we did know in terms of the size of the Icelandic economy that Icesave and Kaupthing were punching above their weight."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific