Bank charges

I recently had to pull my mum out of the clarts here in France. During a bout of depression, she managed to get herself into debt at the bank. Nothing enormous, roughly €500. The bank (and I’ve just totted it up)over the last month applied 2 x €254 and an arbitrary €154. This totals €662 in bank charges.

I’ve discussed this with them and the amount that has come back is €154. I’m grateful for the amount they have reimbursed, but the amount taken does seem excessive. Especially since we went to see them and agreed a plan to right the situation. I had the impression they didn’t want to help her get out of the debt.

All back on course now, but as a pensioner with depression, it’s one more thing she didn’t really need.

with you there too - my swiss one is cheap if I'm in credit and free above a certain sum and no charges for anything else, plus on the odd occasion that French banks have been funny about international transfers, they've phones directly to sort it out! Deutsche bank were very good too, I no longer need it though as my "link" to Germany and reason for going there finished some years ago ;-)

Yes Andrew, but my Swiss and German charges are so low if I stay in credit that I use either for all my orders from Amazon, Chapitre, etc and nothing goes sneakily missing in the way of extra charges for using my card online.

yes Nick and yes - times they are a changing, even my parents in law changed insurers last year, they're in their 70s and the farm and everything else had always been with the local AXA rep. I think they ended up saving over 50%! But people are so slow to change so in the end isn't it their fault to some extent...?

Yes Brian, with you on that one - post office accounts are excellent; france and switzerland, had a deutsche bank account while it was free for students and I spent time in germany but cancelled it all once I had to start paying ;-)

That is what we do though isn't it? We stick with what we know (present company excepted). Most people will blindly stay with the bank they are with. Same with insurance etc. I think more and more people are becoming wise to the fact and are starting to shop around for the best deals. So the next time your banker smiles at you with that Hollywood white grin as he prepares to fleece you gently again, you can return the smile as you tell him that you are taking your cash elsewhere.

Bar stewards! That is why I have different accounts in different countries, two of them post office accounts like Andrew.

yep, French banks, not all but some, are fine while in credit, I pay 6€ a year in charges at la banque postale, have a hole in the wall card and a cheque book, standing orders etc. I don't have their credit card because it costs 24€ a year whereas mine from Oney is free. I do have to pay if i go overdrawn but it's a per day charge and isn't too high. Agree with both of you - never take the loans, and don't they go on and on trying to flog you them! I too changed banks when I didn't get the service I expected/was available elsewhere, it's all too easy to stick with the bank in your village or the one that has a britline or other gadget but these are services that have to be paid for...

Interestingly, the banks are continually under fire from 60 million de consommateur who claim that the banks still are not being clear about their charging policies - things are changing but very very slowly!

and I'm seeing BNP Parisbas, la Banque Populaire Occitane and Crédit Agricole on Friday - a whole day with the banks talking business plans and business loans :-O (followed by la Française des Jeux and an école maternelle et primaire in the evening!)

Just found another €172 they took out in April!

It's the only way. I run my account like that. The charges are simply too heavy if you don't.

Share the feeling. I sometimes sweat blood to do it, but stay in credit and do not accept their offers of loans, mortgages whatever not to do that.

This is only in the last month, but since then, every time there is a centime that comes out of the account and goes to the bank, I’m on the phone, politely asking full details of why? And secondly, please can you make sure that the message gets passed into your automated systems at head office, that we agreed a way out of this and these charges formed no part of the discussion. I have a copy of the meeting minutes you wrote Mme le Banque Manageur. Otherwise, you can expect an administrative call from me everytime you help yourself to a bit more.
Come on, they are taking the Michael. I used to think I subsidized the RSI Christmas party - it looks like I’m doing it for the bank this year.

I have not been overdrawn here, so my charges are minimal yet my bank spends a lot of time trying persuade me to take out loans, etc. It is quite clear that if this is the kind of charge one might expect that they want us to be in debt. I once confronted a bank manager with the question about a charge I had on something stupid like £8 for two weeks roughly. Why did that cost so much whereas when I am in credit I get nothing back, it did not balance out in my mind. He gave me a lot of bull about administration costs and so on and my response was that surely since all of that was done by bank employees, using the same calculation processes as when accounts are in credit, administration charges are disengenuous, arbitrary money grabbing that if all customers knew about would see all money taken out and stuffed under mattresses because the banks are not to be trusted. He had no actual response to that except to tell me that unless I had the experience of working in the banking world I would never understand what happens and is necessary. I left totally unsatisfied and changed bank, taking out a different kind of account that I still have today. It gives me interest when I am in credit, which I always am, so does return something. The particular bank that charged me excessively is one of the ones since taken over and I presume forgotten by most people and I am not surprised.

OK, that is nothing to do with what you are writing about, but I am certain a lot of people have had similar situations. Banks run wild, much of the time getting away with it. No wonder they can give senior staff such enormous bonuses when one thinks what they must be taking from large concerns whose borrowing is in millions and often get into expensive situations when they find it hard to repay on time, in full, etc.