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>> As Brexit looms, British banks are pushing ahead with plans to move staff overseas, giving up hope that the UK government will strike a deal on one of their key demands before the end of the year. The banks want a staggered departure from the European Union. Brit execs at five of London's largest lenders say a deal could come too late, meaning they would already have begun implementing plans to move staff and operations out of the UK.
Citibank's UK head saying, there's been a lot of talk and not a lot of action for a long time.>> They're really gonna make a decision about whether to move abroad in the next month or two and they would need a really clear, early sign that Britain and the EU were going to give them this type of deal.
>> The government has been adopting a more conciliatory tone towards business, talking about a transitional deal and holding its first high level Brexit meetings with corporate leaders. The bank execs say they're anxious and may have to act regardless of what Brexit negotiators do now. The French prime minister has pitched Paris as a destination for banks leaving London, luring lenders with new measures making it easier to do business there.
But UK banks still have reservations.>> Banks are really worried about going to France for two reasons, one is the high tax rate and the second is the fact that it's very difficult to fire people. One banker said when you hire somebody in France, they're with you for life.
The government has made an indication that they'll try and be more flexible on these two issues, but it's probably gonna come too late. It looks like Frankfurt will be the preferred destination.>> Back in Britain, the government has yet to ask for a transitional deal. Those negotiations could face opposition and will take time to agree upon.
For banks based in the UK, patience is running out.