February 15, 2009 at 7:28 pm #54749
Estimados Damas y Caballeros:
If I want to buy an apartment in Alicante area- what bank (Spanish or other) should I open an a/c with, to minimize potential problems?
E.g., some Spanish people believe that in the selected area the particular subsidary should small enough (or well organized) to know clients by name to be able to resolve issues by phone/fax, i.e., without assistance of an intermediate person.
In addition: should the bank be:
a) a really Spanish bank, or can it be
b) a Spanish subsidary (probably acting as a Spanish legal entity) of a British, French etc bank?
If particular names could not be given, could I please know criteria to choose an appropriate bank.
February 16, 2009 at 8:13 am #90234
I can’t comment personally on the Alicante area but I would say that I would avoid Banesto. In our area CajaMar is the best bank and I wish that we were with them, or Ibercaja. More modern and seem to follow the rules a bit more I think?
At the moment I think that Santander would be a good option. The smaller banks can be either good in that they know your name or this can go against you in their little ‘extra commisions’ etc. they magically add to your account. We have two accounts with one bank but in different towns, one with our mortgage and the other a credit card. One charged 9 euros ‘maintenance’ and the other 18 euros ? I think that any bank whether in Spain or the UK are trying to claw any extra money from their customers but I wonder if we notice that they take a bit extra in Spain without any explanation as to what it is?
February 16, 2009 at 9:11 am #90237
I’m not sure that a local bank is needed. We use Deutsche Bank, and they have been good. But, if I was doing it again I think I would use ING, and may change to them.
February 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm #90240
Dear Itsme and El Anciano,
I appreciate your prompt answers.
If you do not mind, I have a couple of extra questions, please:
– Can one open a bank a/c without NIE?
– If I have a EUR account with a relatively big French bank, and in addition, being a member of cooperative society (having Société Générale Bank & Trust, Bayerische Hypo-und Vereinsbank, AMRO etc as correspondent banks) allowing me to to draw cheques, do I really need to open an a/c with a Spanish bank BEFORE I buy?
Could a lack of a Spanish a/c prevent me from completing?
The reason of hesitancy to open an a/c in Spain BEFORE actually buying is to avoid creating a false impression with the Spanish authorities that I could be subject to taxes there, while I am not before I buy.
It is understood, that once I buy a property, I’ll definitely have a Spanish a/c.
Thank you for your understanding.
February 16, 2009 at 8:03 pm #90241
I’m sorry but i’m not sure about these extra questions. I think that you do need an NIE to open an account as they have asked me for mine when I joined my partner on their account.
The other bank question i’m not sure about so will wait for someone who knows more to reply….
February 20, 2009 at 10:57 pm #90313
Iwas over in Los Alacazares in May last year and opened a bank account with the Sol bank . No nie number was requested, only my passport and within 40mins i walked out with 3 accounts
February 21, 2009 at 7:09 pm #90319InezParticipant
Some banks do and others dont. If you are buying a property and obtaining a mortgage, then one will be opened for you at the mortgaging bank.
If buying cash then you can open wherever and usually a passport for ID suffices although now you may have to sign a declaration that you are a non resident!
Go to various banks and ask what they require. You will need NIE to complete your purchase
February 24, 2009 at 10:09 pm #90427
I have been with and only with the cam bank. Never had any problems and their on line banking is good which is in English or Spanish, very useful for checking direct debits etc and moving money into higher paying interest accounts.
But truth is just like everything else there is good or bad experiences to report with anything. It might be I have been lucky so don’t use this as gospel.
However knowing what I know now would I use them again, well not before shopping around and finding out what the charges are, especially as a non resident for transferring money into the account. 😉
April 6, 2009 at 7:09 pm #91283
Good night EVERYBODY,
Thanks a lot for your posts.
April 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm #91284
A lot really depends on the individual bank director – they can make a huge difference tot he treatment you get, so I would suggest that whatever bank you go to you ensure you get on well with them and they will meet your needs.
As for the banks themselves, Banco Santander do not charge you if you have your account domiciled there (ie it is your main account), ING also seem very good but as far as I know they are an online bank predominantly (they certainly have no offices that I have seen in this region) and they also do not charge for accounts domiciled with them –
In fact if memory serves me right if you pay your bills through them they will give you a small percentage back (1% – not much but better in your pocket than theirs)
The cajas are akin to building societies in the UK and tend tobe better if ou want a mortgage or loan as their ongoing costs are expensive (though in saying that CajaMar and I believe Caja Madrid do not levy charges)
Bancaja also have free banking as such but charge €21 a year for the privilege of having their credit card, they also have financial problems (as do most of the cajas)
If you are going to be paying a lot of money in then I would say Banco Santander as they do not have any transfer fees up to €50,000 (whether in or out)
With regards to needing an NIE -I would be very surprised nowadays if they did not insist on it when opening as it is law that before you can sign any contract in Spain you must have an NIE number (this could refer only to public contracts like Escrituras) and was brought in about two years ago
Some may still allow you to open with a passport but I have to say I have not seen that happen in a number of years (in saying that I haven’t really dealt with banks on that level for at least two years)
If you have an account with an associated bank why then would you need a Spanish bank account – providing you can get easy access to your money without charges being inflicted then I see no reason why you would need one until you buy somewhere here (you will need a Spanish account for bills and suchlike)
April 7, 2009 at 8:57 am #91287
I, too, am looking for a bank through which to complete a property purchase in Javea. I was recommended Bancaja, as they do not charge any fees on incoming funds. However, I am rather nervous about commiting all my funds to them, as I see that the have been given a credit rating downgrading. Do you think that I am worrying unduly or would you have any particular recommendation of what bank to use to complete the purchase?
April 7, 2009 at 10:24 am #91288
a year ago I had a friend who wanted to buy a house and his financial advisor insisted he use Bancaja (Javea)mainly because he said he was very good friends with the director (youre not using Jesus for the transaction are you?)- the mortgage fell through at the last minute because they are suffering from lack of funds.
If you have a small amount of funds then they are ok for general banking transactions but for larger transaction would use a bank rather than a caja as the way the cajas are funded is causing Northern Rock type of problems and they do not have enough funds to cover their liabilities (in many cases) so be careful
I would recommend Santander, BBVA, Banco Popular – all of which are financially sound – and the latter two do charge but you can negotiate this to nothing if you demonstrate there is competition for your account – they will generally match your offer, but Santander will give you everything for free on sign up without having to ask for it. (Incidentally it was with Santander that I managed to get my friend the mortgage – difficult case)
Incidentally I know the banks mainly because for 2 years I was commercial Director at a Renewable Energy company and part of my role was to finance projects and find funding for investors in said projects.
April 7, 2009 at 10:49 am #91289
Thanks a lot for your informative post. You know a vast majority of things, and you know them well and deep.
I plan to buy not before fall 2009, may be even in 2010, depending on the market conjuncture evolution and my availability.
However, following your book and Mark’s pieces of advice posted on SPI, a potential buyer should think about an infrastructure for buying (NIE, bank a/c, lawyer etc) a bit in advance (in parallel with a property search) because the experience shows that nothing is straightforward: laws and practice change…
“If you have an account with an associated bank why then would you need a Spanish bank account – providing you can get easy access to your money without charges being inflicted then I see no reason why you would need one until you buy somewhere here”.
Yes, I can use facilities of the Cooperative Society (of financial nature), which I am a member of, eg, to draw a cheque in favour of the vendor or the notary to pay deposit etc.
But, my Cooperative Society, having associated banks in a few European countries, regretfully, does not have an associated bank in Spain. Otherwise, I hope, the matter would have seemed simpler.
April 7, 2009 at 11:14 am #91291
Many thanks for your immediate and comprehensive reply. (It wasn’t Jesus’ recommendation but another agent).
I’m not looking to get a mortgage but think that I shall take your advice and speak to Santander or BBVA.
I am looking at a villa which has been fairly heavily discounted (28%), since last year, but I am still wondering if I might do best to hold fire and rent somewhere, for a while, due to the continuing negative reports about the market. Any thoughts?
April 7, 2009 at 11:23 am #91292
I would say hold tight – the market is still not in recovery phase and has yet to bottom out (imho) 28% on last years price is no bargain. The friend I am referring to got a discount of 45% last year (in January) and that was before the market bombed like it did. Suggest you put in areal low ball offer and expect to walk away if not accepted. See what they come back with. If you dont have the nerve to do so drop me a message I have no scruples (wont cost you a bean – well maybe a beer)
Best f luck and my advice is sit tight or go in really hard – do not leave nay money on the bargaining table
April 7, 2009 at 11:25 am #91293
When to buy is a difficult thing to assess. But, my experience has been that timing is not everything. Some properties are already massively discounted, whereas others are still at peak, and with some sellers will stay there.
Some feel that the next few months will be a good time, especially if the property is properly discounted. However, the economic data in Spain does make me wonder if we have a lot further to fall. (We still have rising unemployment for a start).
IMHO even the heavily discounted stuff is just getting back to what I consider sensible value, but really (in this economic climate) they should be still better value at the moment.
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