Unfgh… Spanish Banking… Bleh!

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Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you, readers of this MBA Blog. The busyness has for the most part stopped, and I have been able to enjoy Barcelona. Truth be told, I did a little smidge too much enjoying of Barcelona – but it being summer, and I being on vacation, I figured I could let the hair down (this would be given I had hair to let down).

Anyways, the new apartment is great, the location is fantabulous (which apparently is a word since MS Word didn’t underline it) and now all that’s left to take care of ADSL. Whatev’s (which apparently is not a word, since MS word did underline it).

Overall, the city is great, but enough about that. Some helpful tips for all incoming students and anyone who cares to know anything about anything whilst living here.

Spain, as far as I know after three weeks of living here (which to an insect is a lifetime, but us humans not much), is a credit aversive society, people work, live with their parents until they’re well into their 30’s, meanwhile saving all their money to eventually get hitched, and buy a place of their own – paid mostly in cash. Wha wha what? Yup…

And, that’s all good and well, but while you’re sitting on 50k Euro… and it’s in a low interest checking account, wouldn’t it all make sense to throw it at least into a money market, I mean, that’s if you’re risk aversive – or put 20% of that badboy into some high yield fund, and leverage the risk with oh… something boring, like commodities (not that I know what I’m talking about of course).

Well… apparently not. You see, there really is no culture of this. For example when I deposited 18.5k USD into my account, it didn’t even come to the tellers mind that I may want to invest that money, whereas in the US, the 1st thing they would have asked was where I wanted to stick that cash. However, this problem is not strictly Spanish. I recently learned from a friend that it also extends to France, and I assume, numerous other states within the EU. But I digress…

… all this non-investment I assume leads to what I have decided to call the “Spain’s no free fee for fee system.” Where you as a customer, have to pay fees for nearly anything and everything that a bank does to your account. Transfer funds, – fee, take out a a large amount of cash – fee, walk past the bank – fee, talk to teller – fee. Pay a fee – fee. OK so I’m exaggerating a bit, but the fees are ridiculous. I think I’ve already paid something like 200 € in fees, and I’ve been here for what? 3 weeks. Dammit, I should be getting interest not paying fees – or am I just being made a fool of?

Then is this where’s Spanish banks get their revenues from? Are they only savings institutions? Do they capitalize on cash, like in the US? Or are the “Caja’s” (Caixa’s en Català) strictly safety deposit boxes? And can I please get a credit card? (The answer to the last one is a big fat NO! I don’t have a job – oh if they only knew of my credit limits stateside.) Right… rambling – so…

These are things that I have only assumed, and in no way shape or form, would know if they are true or not. Except for one thing – that if you are moving to Spain, prepare to pay banking fees for nearly everything.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. sirreene says:

    Banking fees for everything? That would wipe me out. My bank does everything for free, practically does our food shopping and prepares our meals 😉

  2. ... jacek ... says:

    I know…. so did HSBC in NY… it´s freggin bull poopy, that´s what it is.

  3. Miss Cellania says:

    You should shop around, and maybe suggest how you’d tranfer your account to a bank who makes you a better deal. Or maybe you should use your credit card more than checks or ATMs. I use a credit card for just about everything, pay it off monthly (so no interest) and earn frequent flyer miles.Look at me, giving advice to an MBA candidate! HA!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi,I’m a spanish citizen looking for an MBA. As you say, there are a lot of fees in the “great” “Cajas” or Banks from Spain. You could look for more little “Cajas” (Caixa Laietana, Manlleu, Penedes, etc) or Banks like Santander Central Hispano.Hope it helps.Juan Carlos Castro

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