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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

I just wondered if anyone could give me a pointer on which French bank to approach for a normal, personal, current account. I've lived in Paris for over 6 months now and until now I have continued to use my UK Bank Account with Barclays.

I have set up as Auto-Entrepreneur and now I need to open a French account. Not a business account as I am paid by UK company into Barclays in UK, just a normal personal account. I went to Caisse D'Epargne for an appointment, taking a big file of paperwork they had requested me to bring along. The woman who dealt with me was soooo rude and refused me an account, but wasn't clear why. She didn't like my status as A.E. and the fact that I am English. She told me that they'd had problems with 'foreigners' trying to obtain mortgages. She just dismissed me, when all I want to do is pay money into the bank, not borrow from it!

Anyway I don't want to go through this experience again so I was wondering if someone could advise me an ex-pat friendly bank! :)
I called Barclays but I don't earn enough to deal with Barclays International!

Many Thanks!
 

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I am sorry to read about your experience with Caisse d'Epargne.

Did you try your Barclays local Branch or Mybarclays (online banking)? I don't earn much and I am banking with Barclays. Did the person you spoke to understood that you are currently residing in Paris?
 

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I second Le Poste. I know a lot of people turn their noses up at it, but I have had great service from them. Like you, I had trouble setting up an account before with Caisse d'Epargne becuase they need a Carte Sejour for any foreigners setting up an account. Le Poste were friendly, it was easy to set up and have internet and mobile banking facilities. They also have all their investments in France, so haven't got money invested in countries such as Greece or Spain like other bankers such as BNP etc...
 

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I use Credit Agricole and haven't had a problem with them - thus far. And although I don't use it, they have an English-speaking phone help thingie.

H
 

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Hi, she sounds very rude...I also use Credit Agricole and have had no problems, they were very friendly and helpful. My friends use CA Britline and are pleased with them as well.:)
 

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La Poste is always a safe bet - and many businesses maintain a La Poste account along with whatever bank they have. The only caveat is that if you open your account through a small post office branch, the hours you can access the bank may be limited.

Banking in France is very much branch by branch. You want to find a branch that is nearby and where the people at the branch are easy to work with. That can take some looking - but there are enough things where you have to go to the bank in person that you want a branch that is convenient for you to get to.

A national bank that is great in one town can be the pits in another - as you have found out with Caisse d'Epargne. Banque Populaire can be a good choice as it is organized somewhat like a mutual bank - i.e. to get an account, you buy a share in the bank and then get invited to the annual meetings and you can vote on various initiatives if you like. Even if you don't bother with that stuff, the bank overall seems to relate better to their customers, knowing that they could potentially make a stink at the annual meeting. But ask your neighbors what they think of their local bank - they might be able to point you to a good one.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Just throwing out another vote for Crédit Agricole, though my experience with them has been with one small village branch. I've also used their bilingual support and the person I corresponded with was very helpful.
 

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I'm no expert, and as everyone says its a branch by branch thing. . .but i'd like to throw a huge vote AGAINST BNP Paribas

If I could do anything to dent their profits even in the slightest, after the time they have given me lately, I would be a lot happier

But like the Murphy's...etc....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to all for your responses. Relocatellla I did try Barclays in Paris but they assured me I need to earn E3000 per month to bank with them ?! (maybe this is a new rule). Anyway I am going to try La Poste, thank you :)
 

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I'm with LCL and have found them as good as any bank can be expected to be (a bit incompetent at times, but that has been my experience with every bank account I've had). I also liked la poste, where I had an account five or so years ago. Have you tried some of the online banks like fortuneo ?
 

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Have you thought about HSBC? I can only speak from personal experience, but they have been good for us and have an english phone option if that is important to you (it is/was to us). With any bank, though, when you ask for people's opinions you're likely to get those that love it, hate it, and everywhere in between.
 

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I just opened an account at Caisse D'Epargne in a small town in Quillan, and it could not have been easier. The bank manager spoke some English and was very helpful. The entire process took about 45 minutes and the only followup was that I had to mail one document to the bank after returning to the US. I guess it's just the luck of the draw!
 
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