Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Watch out... There's a Banker About!!

Buy a House in Brittany or Normandy - Definitely! But...
Don’t do a Dave!
Buying Abroad? Got a minute? Read this...
It could save you thousands!

A woeful tale about a client who thought he had it all sewn up because he was sticking with his bank when he exchanged funds for the purchase of his house in Brittany.

As we have so often said… Watch out, there’s a banker about!

Dave Simmonds and his wife, Megan (It's a true story, but the names have been changed to cover any possible embarrassment - alright ‘Dave’?) were both very, very excited after finding their ideal home in the heart of the Cotes d’Armor. It was everything they could ever wish for…  Early retirement with a very reasonably priced 5 Bedroomed Farmhouse on five acres plus three gites. Enough space for the horse that Megan could never have dreamt of owning back in Guildford.  A good potential income from holiday lettings...And all for just 360,000€ plus Notaire’s fees! I know, barmy prices!

Anyway…during one of our conversations on the phone discussing the next steps after making the decision to buy and the offer etc., I mentioned to Dave that, if he wished, we could introduce him to a very reliable currency exchange house who would ensure that he could get the best deal on his currency exchange (Sterling to Euros). Sometimes it’s easy to understand that people might feel guarded, proud even, of their own abilities to sort out their own arrangements. “Oh no, that’s OK” he said, “I’ll be sorting things out through my bank”.  
“You know,” I said, “that banks make charges and offer rates that push up your costs because of their involvement... way above that of a registered and recognised FX company. Their rates are just not as competitive.  These guys are very professional…What is it that worries you about checking out the market?”
“It’s just that I have had my account with the same branch since I left college and everything’s in their hands… current account, deposit account, mortgage, insurance business - you name it… the lot! I’ve always been happy with the way things have gone. So if you don’t mind… I've already had a word with my branch manager and he didn’t seem phased by helping us out”… I dropped it. Dave was intent on doing things his way!

Our network always ensures that the commercial agent, or Immobiliere concerned, accompanies our clients and leads the way through the act finale document, where the Notaire, assisted by the agent, leads the buyer through the compiled document, ensuring that the purchaser understands any potentially unclear elements of the transaction. It’s worth noting here that the system of property purchase in France is different from that which  exists in the UK and (unless the purchaser is well versed in the language) the agent’s presence is regarded as essential to assist progress, observing that all requirements of the transaction have been observed and to witness the purchaser’s signature(s), that their approval and full understanding is secured. It’s all so much more simple that way and a lot less harrowing. It's a bit like a police statement (but don't ask me how I know!)

It was after all of this had been achieved and, following the elation of Dave and Megan becoming the owners of their new house, that Dave looked at the paperwork and files on his computer and felt somewhat pinched at his final figure by way of the Bank’s involvement in the currency exchange… and, being shocked, only then did he compare his bank’s performance with that of our FX associates. Dave's exchange with his bank had in fact cost him £9,000 more than it would have done via the best performing currency exchange house. When we spoke he told me of his anger and almost disbelief that this could have happened and at such an amazing difference (Dave's house was 360,000€! so that'll be three times the illustrated figure shown below - ouch!). He told me that he intended to sue his bank! I had to persuade him to maintain calm and to realise that he had signed to approve the exchange via his bank and that protesting would be fruitless since he walked into the arrangement with eyes wide open. Dave’s experience came too late for him...
If he had let me show him this comparison and not been insistent that his bank would 'see him right' I'm sure it would have been a NO Brainer! Moral: Don't Do A Dave! (sorry Dave).

Click below to visit the Currencies Direct website (they regularly feature at the top of the league tables for FX)... So - Sign up today and be ready for the BIG DAY!... Not a 'Banker' in sight!

 CurrenciesDirect - It couldn't be easier...


  1. Happy that we used a reputable FX firm....and always obtained very competitive rates.

    Mike ( his real name.....what the 'eck?) at No.1.


Watch out... There's a Banker About!!

Buy a House in Brittany or Normandy - Definitely! But... Don’t do a Dave! Buying Abroad?  Got a minute? Read this... It could sa...