Question for Kerouac Re: French Banks

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Sep 10th, 2010, 08:52 AM
  #1
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Question for Kerouac Re: French Banks

Hi, kerouac.

I seem to recall you posted awhile back about a couple of French banks that you have accounts with. I don't even recall exactly why one of them appealed to me, but I am contemplating some rather major transactions in France in the coming months and am disenchanted with the Crédit Commerciale du Sudouest, my current bank, and would like to explore more options. Can you refresh my memory as to where you bank and what the advantages are?

Merci
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Sep 10th, 2010, 10:21 AM
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I am using Crédit Agricole, but am not crazy about it. On the other hand, these types of institutions in France are not particularly customer friendly, contrary to the brochures that they include in their monthly statement. I am involved in a major transaction to replace my roof at this very moment and am sending the money via electronic transfer directly to the roofing company's bank (BNP Paribas). It turns out to be the cheapest and most convenient way of doing it via xe.com. Unless my credit union and the roofer's bank charges a fee, the cost of the transaction will be just the conversion fee charged by xe.com which was less than 2% for the initial required 20% payment to get the job started.
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Sep 10th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Well, my principal bank is Axa Banque, formerly Banque Directe, which was created by Paribas and obviously absorbed during the BNP Paribas merger. Then BNP Paribas sold it to Axa Assurances, but it has maintained its close ties to BNP, which makes many operations easier. Since they have no real world agencies, I believe that cash deposits can be made at the Banque Postale, but I don't really know anything about that because I have never made a cash deposit.

Their telephone service operates 24 hours a day except on Sunday, which I'm sure would be helpful to American customers, not having to think about time zones. The only reason it doesn't operate on Sunday is that banks are not allowed to be open 7 days a week (yet). The Visa card is free if you charge enough on it during the year.

I used to get wonderful prizes for referrals, but I think it only works on domestic referrals.

Another online bank you might want to check out is Boursorama Banque, which even gives its Visa Premier card free of charge. I was going to open an account there, but they annoyed me too much. The moment I filled out an online form for further information, they started phoning me, and the whole point of going online was that I did not feel like talking to them on the phone!
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Sep 10th, 2010, 11:43 AM
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Secondary issue: should the bank have a local branch? Until fairly recently, CA was the only game in our market town which is why we have an account there. Of course, because of electronic banking, this has become less important in recent times. But I still need the bank because I don't have a computer in the Dordogne and the hamlet won't get DSL service until 2012, if then--I had to go to the mairie of the next town for emergency e-mails. You might find yourself in a similar situation.
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Sep 10th, 2010, 02:44 PM
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Thanks, Michael and kerouac.

Michael, I will probably still keep my CCSW account open, with a small amount in it for everyday things (and we have DSL in my commune, so that's not an issue). But I'm contemplating selling my house in the Dordogne and buying something smaller and in or near a town or village, so will be needing a place to park what for me will be some substantial sums and I'd rather start over with another institution for that.

kerouac: thank you. It was Axa Banque I was thinking of. I'll investigate. And couldn't I be considered a domestic referral? Would I have to be French?
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Sep 10th, 2010, 03:11 PM
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I don't have the slightest idea, St. Cirq.

When I refinanced my bank loan concerning my mortgage, I went to a consolidator who finds the best possible deal, and I ended up with an account at Crédit Agricole Pas de Calais in Arras for a few years, because it was the bank that offered the best refinancing deal. I never went to Arras or dealt with the bank in person, so I know that it is quite possible to do all sorts of things with French banks without actually being there.
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Sep 10th, 2010, 03:43 PM
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Well, if I decide to go with Aa bank, I'll let you know so you can try to collect a prize!
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