The banks’ war against non-resident homeowners in Spain

You always needed a Spanish bank account to holiday in a home you owned in Spain. You needed it to pay the bills and tax associated with the property. But now it’s becoming mission impossible to keep a bank account open for this.

Banks are under constant stress from intense competition, market pressure and, above all, increasingly strict government controls that seek to apply effective anti-money laundering and tax evasion measures. Having a bank account in Spain just to pay the utilities of a holiday home is getting more expensive and difficult because this type of customer is no longer of interest to banks.

Banks must cooperate with the government in identifying their customers. However, until now, they had been far from zealous in meeting this obligation that had been in place for years related to fiscal transparency and the fight against money laundering. But now, in this requirement, they have found the perfect excuse for making life impossible for non-residents with little banking activity, something of little profit to banks at a time they are keen to cut costs by reducing staff and closing branches. What we have, then, is a campaign against non-resident homeowners to try to force them to have their utilities paid through an account in their country of residence (something now technically possible) and close their little used Spanish bank account.

Carlos Prieto Cid – Your legal adviser in Spain

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