Banking ombudsman?

Evening campers!
Quick question…a friend of ours has sold a property here in France - he is a UK resident and the bank (after a month of stalling / refusing to reply to emails etc. ) have now said they will not let him transfer more the 120k in a given month. He sold the property for 145k - the bank received the money directly from the notaire and have had the attestation de vente. Can they do this? Is this legal? Is there anyone he can complain to? Thanks!

Don’t get me started on banking …

I think banking problems started last year when ‘security rules’ changed, i.e. transferring money in/out from US, GB, FR, …

Whatever paperwork the bank asks for, give it if you can regardless if it makes sense for you.

One of the issues I had was held up for weeks because we didn’t provide a phone-bill with an foreign address on.


Hi Catharine,

It’s not a matter of law but depends on the Bank’s policy. Usually it’s written in the conditions one never reads…

So, there is probably no way to complain but your friend should see with a company like Currencies Direct or Pugnax-Fx what they can do. They usually charge a smaller transfer fee than a bank and they have no limit, as far as I know.


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Antiquated! Especially as these funds came from a Notaire and the necessary paperwork.
I have just been listening to World Service and Barclays are being reinvested for breaking money laundering rules for billions of Middle Eastern money.
Why is it always the little people who are inconvenienced by these laws designed to stop the big boys?


This is how to contact the French banking ombudsman.

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I know this is not totally relevant, but as I going through the probate for my mother’s estate I have noticed on a couple of accounts for things like ISA that the bank can not transfer direct to a USA account, no explanation and no reference to European accounts, although technically Britain is still in.


Your account is somewhat short on detail, for example how is ‘your friend’ trying to transfer the funds? In any case if the transfering bank has a cap of 120K in a given month and 145K needs to be transferred, isn’t the solution to transfer 120K one month then 25K on the first day of the next?

Why is a banking Ombudsman needed to resolve a simple situation?

He is trying to transfer using any method available, initially via the app/website and subsequently by discussing the situation with an adviser. What it comes down to is the time/ammount limits imposed on transfers. That is the question, why can he not move the entire sum wherever he likes immediately. The funds came from a notaire so are obviously legitimate. If he were in a chain he would require the funds immediately, why all this piecemeal nonsense?

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Because, just like banks have limits on cash withdrawals, they have caps on transfers out by Internet/phone as anti-fraud measure.

Governments impose controls to guard against money laundering, particularly proof of origin of funds has to be supplied to the receiving bank. Banks must be able to show government regulators that they have checked origins of transferred funds or they get fined large amounts. There have been a number of news items about this over the recent years.

I am surprised the limit was so high, my bank has a limit of 30 000€, but it is likely different banks set different limits.

Amounts higher are arranged by personal contact with the bank giving passwords etc.

If he were in a chain, the transfer of funds would be from Notaire to Notaire so he would not be involved in the transfer process.

Hope that helps explain the situation better.

I would have thought the obvious answer would be a currency transfer company such as HiFx, is that not what they’re for? and usually better rates.

Otherwise it seems to me it would be far quicker to do as JB suggests, transfer 120k immediately and the rest as soon as possible rather than waste time banging his head against international banking regulations, which will likely achieve nothing apart from giving him a bad headache.

Somewhat but as the funds came from a notaire are they not already confirmed as legitimate? How does the delay make any difference?

By origin of funds I do not mean from whom they came, but were they obtained legitimately.

But in any case the issue here is your friend’s French bank, like all or most banks, has a cap on the amount that can be made per month via on-line banking. I suspect there is a cap too on the amount per transfer… as I said there is with my bank.

The reason for this is to help prevent or limit fraudulent use of someone’s bank account by an unauthorised third party. There are plenty of examples of people who have their bank details stolen, or are duped into handing them over.

So I suppose it depends whether a person accepts the trade-off between having their funds protected and the inconvenience of restrictions on the movement of funds, or whether they prefer no retrictions and the risk of having their bank account emptied by on-line fraudsters.

I wonder, if your friend wanted the funds in his UK bank, would it not have been easier to give the Notaire the IBAN for his UK bank? The SEPA arrangement makes cross border transfers the same as internal transfers, and should be without charges.

In hindsight that may have been a better move. Thanks for your explanation.

Thanks to those of you who have offered such constructive replies. And doubly annoyingly he is (Anna and Christian) using a currency house - but we’re now stuck waiting for a second activation code to be sent (because the first one didn’t get registered on the system!!)m and until that arrives, he can’t transfer any amount, however small.
It has been one long cock up from start to finish…

Oh dear…sounds like this is definitely something that anyone selling needs to think about, discuss with Notaire/Bank etc etc… beforehand.

How will the money be paid?? … When will it be paid?? … How can I get my hands on it ??? :persevere:

It now looks like some bright spark has decided to send it to his UK address despite it having been agreed that it would go to a French address, thus causing more delays. You couldn’t make this up!!

More often than not… Life is stranger than Fiction :scream:


At Credit Agricole they would only let me transfer 5000 euro a day; just when gold was at less than £700 an ounce; I could have regained some of the money I lost on my french house, by the time my funds were in place in UK, gold was at nearly £1000 an ounce. Banks utterly disgust me. Glad to be the hell out of France.

Why the ‘inverted’ commas John? A slightly agressive comment - non?

Hi, I’m guessing you may now be sorted but yes, there is a French Banking Ombudsman - we’ll be using his services shortly! Think you have to present your dossier in writing but here’s a link to relevant addresses: