The CAM Bank in Spain Lose Customer Trust

The CAM Bank (Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo) in Spain loses customer trust over several odd transactions not expected of a bank.

The CAM savings bank comes under the protective wing of the Bank of Spain, and is a non-profit organisation that has been created for social and charitable purposes, according to their website.

The reality is that the CAM bank, like most savings banks in Spain, are mortgage lenders that are often heavily involved with building firms from the planning stage onwards, offering guarantees and funding for the building boom in Spain's Costa Blanca region.

With the recession and the collapse in the building industry, The CAM has found it has bitten off more than it can chew. With spiralling debts as more and more people hand in their keys for property bought in better times, the CAM bank is struggling to survive.

With this uncertainty over its future, many CAM bank customers have found themselves with unexplained charges added to their account. This especially affects foreign residents, mostly from the UK who cannot speak Spanish.

While the CAM Bank advertises that its friendly staff speak English, often this is found not to be the case. For those who can actually speak some English, you will find a huge communication breakdown when they suddenly cannot understand what you are trying to ask, leading to confusion on the part of both sides. This gives then ample opportunity to continue withdrawing funds from your account with no explanation as to where this money is actually going.

This has happened to many of its customers, with money continually dribbling out of their account and no plausible explanation as to where it actually goes.

The Cam Bank have a web presence as well as close ties with builders, and many foreigners planning on moving to Spain, or buying a holiday home there, use the CAM Bank for financing their property.

the CAM Bank
the CAM Bank
house burning down
house burning down

Case A involves a couple who had a mortgage with the CAM Bank for their finca on the campo.

The CAM Bank provide compulsory insurance on all their mortgaged properties and this insurance is among the more expensive insurances offered Spain -wide.

This finca was insured for €50,000 rebuilding costs.

One night, the couple, who worked nights, came home to find their home a shouldering ruin. They lost everything, and duly submitted a claim to the Cam Bank's insurers.

Months went by with no word on how their claim was doing, despite the couple's repeated phone calls. Friends donated a caravan in which they were forced to live while the claim was ongoing. It should have been simple. They were insured for €50k and lost everything. Their house was a shell requiring complete re-building.

One day, someone from the insurance company asked them to stop phoning as the claim had been settled.

Their joy was short-lived.

On calling into their local branch of the CAM Bank, they were shocked to learn that the CAM BANK HAD ACCEPTED A MERE €23,000 ON THEIR BEHALF, WITHOUT INFORMING THEM.

That couple are still living in a caravan 6 years later, while they fight this decision of the CAM Bank (and it wasn't their decision to make) through the courts.

Case Number 2 involved a lady paying her mortgage repayment in cash, as she did every month.

After counting out the money in the bank queue, she passed it over the teller who re-counted it and announced it was €50 short.

The lady paid over another €50, but on leaving the bank realised she was in fact €50 short and returned, demanding the teller recheck her balance.

Told to return the following day after the bank's accounts had been balanced, she returned only to be told everything was in order. She then pointed out that she had first withdrawn the necessary money from the bank's outside cash machine. On hearing this, the teller told her to return the next day again as the cash machine had not been tallied.

The following day her €50 was returned, and the cash machine blamed for the error.

However, the lady in question still insists that she had counted the money in the bank and had indeed handed over the correct money in the first place.

This is a classic example of how the CAM Bank loses customer trust. It is of vital importance that tellers can be trusted with your money.

Case number 3 again involves a lady who was asked to pay her annual house insurance when she went into pay her mortgage in cash.

She had wanted to change insurance companies, but failed to give the asked-for 3 months notice of intent. She asked instead for a six month insurance contract, giving her time to arrange an alternative insurance.

As they normally charge well over €300 for the annual insurance, she was pleased to only be asked for €150 and happily paid it over.

On paying the mortgage she was handed two receipts from the teller. One presumably for the mortgage payment and the other for the insurance.

One month later when she returned to pay her mortgage, she was asked for a further €350 for the insurance premium.

On querying this, she was told to produce her receipt for having paid this premium the previous month, even though it was the same bank teller who denied selling a six month premium.

On returning home, she was shocked to find that the two receipts given her by the teller the previous month were both for the mortgage, which had unusually been split into two payments.

The moral of this story is to ALWAYS CHECK YOUR BANK RECEIPTS AT THE CAM BANK.

More and more people are closing their CAM Bank accounts due to to irregular payments being taken from their account without prior warning.

However, if they have a mortgage with the CAM Bank, the only way left to pay it is in cash at the teller's desk inside the bank.

If the tellers are less than honest, this can still cost you dearly.

I would advise anyone reading here to steer well clear of the CAM Bank, who are obviously so desperate for your cash that they will find illegal and immoral means of getting it.

If you have a story to share about the CAM Bank, please either contact me through my profile (click on the photo top right) or add it below.

More by this Author


Comments 13 comments

humagaia profile image

humagaia 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Go get 'em Girl!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

They need sorting out - they are becoming beyond a joke!


Sophia Angelique 5 years ago

Whoa! That's tough. It always amazes me how staff continues to work for organizations that are blatantly dishonest. They value their jobs over their integrity.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

It seems to me to be the staff who are dishonest, not so much the organisation although they too seem to like ripping people off. I hate banks!


Keith - FINCA PARCS ACTION GROUP 5 years ago

FINCA PARCS ACTION GROUP TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST SPANISH DEVELOPER – CLEYTON GES SL AND THE FUNDING BANK OF THE DEVELOPMENT - CAJA DE AHORROS DEL MEDITERRANEO

SUMMARY

FINCA PARCS ACTION GROUP, currently consists of 63 purchasers on the Las Higuericas, Finca Parcs development, none of whom were provided with the legally required Bank Guarantees for their Off-Plan deposits. The developer, Cleyton GES SL abandoned the project in May 2009 stating that the project was ‘financially unviable’. Over the past 2 years FINCA PARCS ACTION GROUP has listened to various promises of refunds from the developer, however to date nothing has materialised. The developer breached its contractual obligations, failed to comply with its legal obligation to provide Bank Guarantees and failed to honour its promises of issuing refunds to the group members, therefore, FINCA PARCS ACTION GROUP has been left with no option but to commence legal action against the developer and promotor of the project, Cleyton GES SL.

The main reasons for the legal action are:

1. To the best of our knowledge, no Building Licences (Licencia de Obras) issued for 3 of the 5 phases

2. Failure to provide Bank Guarantees as required by Spanish Law for the protection of amounts paid in advance by purchasers

3. Failure to deliver the properties and specific features of the project within the contractually agreed time

The group is also taking legal action against the developments funding bank, Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo (CAM Bank), the entity that accepted the off-plan deposits and that was contracted by the developer Cleyton GES SL to issue the Bank Guarantees.

CAM Bank failed to comply with their legal obligations of verifying the existence of Bank Guarantees which is a clear violation of their obligations under Spanish Law, in particular, LEY 57/68 Article 1.1 and 1.2.

FINCA PARCS ACTION GROUP consists of individual buyers mainly from the UK, Ireland and Spain. Keith Rule, a Finca Parcs purchaser who has not received the legally required Bank Guarantee, formed the action group in 2009 after leading a smaller group of Finca Parcs purchasers since 2006. The group is legally represented by María Luisa de Castro, director of Costa Luz Lawyers and De Castro Gabinete Jurídico which consists of legal professionals including her father and two brothers. Costa Luz Lawyers and De Castro Gabinete Jurídico have been working exclusively on similar cases since March 2006. The legal team is being assisted by a Civil Law Professor (Catedrático) from the University of Seville.

The off-plan deposits paid by the group members for which the legally required Bank Guarantees were not issued total in excess of 2 million Euros. The deposit funds were paid to the Special Accounts opened by the developer Cleyton GES SL at the funding bank, Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo.

The deposits, which for some group members amount to the bulk of their life savings, were paid for off-plan reservations between 2004 and 2008.

FINCA PARCS ACTION GROUP member, Reg Matthews, 75, who reserved his Finca Parcs plot in 2006 comments: “The developer Cleyton GES SL and CAM Bank have taken my money, failed to provide my Bank Guarantee and failed to build my house that was originally promised for completion in 2008. My life has been on hold for the past 4 years, my dream of a house in the Spanish sunshine has been shattered and all I want now is my money back. The developer and bank should not be allowed to treat innocent people like this. I am shocked this type of thing can happen in an EU member country when there are laws and regulations in place to prevent such situations”

FINCA PARCS – CLEYTON GES SL & CAM BANK

The developer, Cleyton GES SL launched the Las Higuericas Finca Parcs development with the slogan ‘The Real Spain’ and in collaboration with CAM Bank began accepting off-plan deposits in 2004. The inland development, close to the village of Agramón, is around 15km from Hellin and 80km from Albacete and Murcia. The development was marketed predominately to UK and Irish buyers as a self contained sports and leisure resort. Built close to the Camarillas Lake there were due to be a total of 617 detached villas spread over 5 phases, many with private pools. Building Licences (Licencia de Obra) were issued for Phases 1 & 2 in March and October 2007, however to the best of our knowledge, the developer, Cleyton GES SL never applied for the building licences for Phases 3, 4 and 5, despite the fact that some construction actually took place on Phase 3 and ground works took place on Phases 4 and 5. The development was also advertised to include a commercial centre with 24 hour security, maintenance services, medical centre, shops and restaurants. Sports enthusiasts were to be catered for with promised facilities to include horse riding, fishing, swimming, canoeing, tennis and bowls.

However, in May 2009, 5 years after accepting the first off-plan deposits the developer, Cleyton GES SL abandoned the site with only 36 of the 617 properties completed. Hellin Town Hall refused to issue Habitation Certificates / Licences of First Occupation for any of the properties on the site as in their opinion the infrastructure was not fully completed. Therefore, no buyer was able to complete their purchase. As a result the site has been deserted since May 2009 except for the presence of a lone security guard.

The developer, Cleyton GES SL officially announced on 21 September 2009 that the development was cancelled due to the fact that it was ‘financially unviable’. Cleyton GES SL then set up the Finca Parcs Refunds Process and refunds were promised to all those purchasers who were not issued with the legally required bank guarantees. Unfortunately Cleyton GES SL failed to provide any tangible evidence to show this process was genuine and on 5 March 2010 the Finca Parcs Refunds Process closed after failing to issue a refund to any purchaser.

COMPLAINT TO CAM BANK

Since 2006 FINCA PARCS ACTION GROUP has been pursuing the developer Cleyton GES SL to demand that they provide the legally required Bank Guarantees. In July 2008 the group submitted their first complaint to Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, the projects funding bank that accepted the off-plan deposits. CAM Bank failed to acknowledge this initial complaint and in October 2008 the group referred the matter to the CAM Bank London Representative Office. In January 2009 the CAM Bank London Office advised the group to submit the complaint to the CAM Bank Head Office in Alicante. A complaint file in excess of 100 pages was delivered by courier to the CAM Bank Head Office in February 2009. After months of correspondence the group escalated the complaint to the highest level within CAM Bank – to the President - Modesto Crespo and the CEO – Roberto López Abad.

After receiving a totally unsatisfactory response from Messrs Crespo and López Abad the FINCA PARCS ACTION GROUP was left with no option than to commence legal action against the developer, Cleyton GES SL and the funding bank that accepted the off-plan deposits, Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo (CAM Bank).

The Director of the legal team in charge of this case, the Lawyer María Luisa de Castro says: “This is a large group of purchasers being led in a very professional and pro-active manner by the group leader Keith Rule. Our legal view is that CAM Bank has acted with a total lack of professional due diligence. Mr Rule has provided us with a dossier of evidence consisting of almost 500 pages”

WORRYING SITUATION

The group finds the situation all the more worrying due to the fact that since paying their off-plan deposits to Cleyton GES SL and CAM Bank for the Finca Parcs project, it has emerged that residents on another Costa Blanca development constructed and marketed by a company which included many of the same Directors/Administrators as Cleyton GES SL, are currently engaged in a battle to legalise their homes.

DECEPTION

Buying a property in Spain is a major decision and members of the FINCA PARCS ACTION GROUP have been deceived by the developer and selling agents due to the fact that a


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

This seems to be a fairly typical scenario, and isn't it funny how it is the CAM Bank that is involved each time? And €2M is a huge amount to have paid in deposits - I imagine that money could easily build a new housing estate twice over, especially considering that most contractors seems to employ cheap foreign labour from Eastern European countries who probably don't even earn the minimum wage. Makes you wonder how many palms were greased with that cash, and where did it go?

Please come back and post again, and complete the section you posted as some words seemed to have got lost from the end. More power to your elbow. Lets' let the whole world know how these shady people operate and have been getting away with operating, at least up till now.


Robin 5 years ago

CAM has over 1.000 offices all over Spain. The examples mentioned above are unfortunate personal experciences, based on miscommunication and an unlucky chain of events.

The cases mentioned should not have happened, but it is too easy to generalize a complete organisation based on a few examples.

I agree to the bad handling of the insurrance claim. That is not acceptable, but unfortunately not uncommon for any other insurrance company.

I am working for CAM for 5 years now, speak English Dutch and German, do not make promisses and I can not keep and always make sure the client knows what to expect.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Robin, thanks for commenting and really sorry you do not work in my local branch. Cam Bank needs a clean up, sorry. It's great that the vast majority of staff are hard-working and honest, but the few who aren't can spoil the whole bank's reputation. But that can happen in any organisation, so it is up to the organisation to set rules in place so that customers are not left feeling dissatisfied and robbed.


Mico 5 years ago

Banks need to have good employees. All service based organizations need to pay special attention to the quality of people and service as well. http://www.micocrane.com/


JimK 3 years ago

I have had an account with CAM bank in Moraira for 10 years. I wrote to them on 17 December 2011 to close my account. A month later I still can't get my money out which is over 10,000 euros. I have asked them to transfer my money to another bank. Despite ringing them and sending letters and numerous emails they will not process my request. They have said that they have a new management! What can I do to get my money? Any advice would be gratefully received.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 3 years ago from UK Author

The Cam Bank were taken over by the Banco Sabadell. I got in touch with their Head Office and they have said that all complaints should be sent to

SERVICIO DE ATENCIÓN AL CLIENTE

BANCO CAM

Avda. Oscar Esplá, nº 37

03007 - VALENCIA

and you can also contact them through their website: https://www.sabadellcam.com/cs/Satellite/BC/

Go above your local branch. Complain at the highest level and they will listen to you. After all, it's your money, not theirs!


Mr Lambie 3 years ago

Dear or Madam,

I would not trust can bank when they nick my house off me when i was paying money every month and why is it that the spainish banks help out a bank that take houses off people they ort to shut down all together


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 3 years ago from UK Author

Tell me about it! Corrupt system if ever there was one.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working