Banking in France: your experiences

We asked Connexion newsletter readers about their experiences of banking in France. Here are some of their replies.

Credit where credit's due

We are with the Crédit Mutuel in Gorron. We joined this bank in 2000, and have enjoyed a good relationship with excellent service.

Several of the employees speak a little English. Our account manager is very courteous and helpful, as are the cashiers.

We also have our car insurance with them as well. When our account manager needed our signature on something, he phoned and asked when he could come and see us to obtain the signature.

The only thing that we have found confusing is credit in France. This is quite unlike a credit card in UK - the French one is actually a loan - an initially agreed amount. You agree a monthly payment into this loan account from your account.

As the borrowing was mounting up, and we had spare cash in our current account, I decided to pay off a bit of the loan. This was, apparently, unheard of, and caused a great kerfuffle.

The "terms" of the loan had to be changed, and there was a certain grumpiness in the air. However, I stuck to my guns saying that I saw no reason to be paying more interest on the "loan" that I had to, when I could reduce it by paying some of the loan off.

I am still confused by the rules governing this odd Credit Card account.

All told, this is a very friendly bank where the employees remember your name. It took me back a quarter of a century to the UK.

Nigel Perry

Check the fee before agreeing to transaction

Last year when I needed £1,000 in cash for a visit to the UK I went to my Crédit Agricole branch and during the exchange I discovered that the rate of commission was 6%. I immediately asked that the request be cancelled, to be told that do so would cost me another 6%. Absolutely outrageous.

Now I just use an ATM.

Rick Featherstone
Speracedes, Alpes-Maritimes

International bank - so why no English?

Very few of the staff at my local branch of HSBC speak English or any other European language.

Why, when we have high youth unemployment don't they bother to ask for an extra language? They are supposed to be an international bank.

Mike Pratt,