Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I have complained before about the banks in Spain. I'm going to do it again.

When I was in Ciudad Rodrigo I opened an account with a bank called Banesto. It didn't go smoothly. Despite several visits they never managed to transfer my direct debits successfully and they lied to me about commission charges. I asked about charges before opening the account and I was given a list. The list did not mention that every Internet transfer would cost 2€. "Ah, that's not a commission, that's a service charge."

As much as anything I chose Banesto because there is a branch in Pinoso. At least there was. It was closed down the week before we got back. There is, however, an agency with the Banesto sign and there is a note on the old bank office to say that business can be transacted in the agency. "Can I get money out of my account here?" I asked, "Of course:" But it wasn't true. If my account had been in Pinoso I could have got to my money but as it was in Ciudad Rodrigo my options were to go to the bank machine of another bank - where there is a charge - or to drive to Monóvar some 14kms away.

I got very cross and in shameful, grammatically inept, Spanish I complained loudly. "The sign says Banesto, my bank book says Banesto but I can't get my money. It's always the same, every time a little trick to siphon off a euro here and a euro there. You're a bunch of liars and thieves!

I could see the looks of complete disbelief between the two women on the other side of the desk. What was wrong with this Brit, who couldn't speak properly, making such a fuss over a commission charge of 1.43€? So far, this year, two accounts, both continuosly in credit have had attracted charges of 180€.

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