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Banco Sabadell Takes Over Troubled Spanish CAM Bank, but do they really know what they have taken on?

Updated on April 20, 2013
Banco Sabadell logo
Banco Sabadell logo | Source

The troubled CAM Bank has been taken over by Spanish giant, Banco Sabadell.

Thanks to incompetence and corruption on an almost unheard of scale, the CAM Bank had a debt of 1,730 MILLION Euros. (nearly $2,000 million).

For a poxy little savings bank, that is one heck of a debt.

Lots of big financial institutions showed an interest in buying the CAM Bank, but were frankly put off by the level of debt this little bank managed to acquire.

With a mixture of back-handers, back-room deals, self-interest for the managers and staff involved, the CAM Bank ran up this debt through lending to builders who had no hope of completion as they were lining their own pockets instead of buying materials and paying staff to build.

Indeed, some CAM Bank managers resigned and paid themselves millions of euros in severance pay that they weren't due and certainly didn't deserve.

It would be nice to think they would now be prosecuted, but when have we ever heard of the fat cats getting thinner?

Banco Sabadell are the 5th largest commercial banking group in Spain after Banco Santander, BBVA, Bankia and Banco Popular Español, according to Wikipedia.

They also have branches in London, Miami and Paris, and representative offices in Algiers, São Paulo, Beijing, Shanghai, Havana, New Delhi, Milan, Singapore, Istanbul, Beyrouth, Santo Domingo, and Mexico City.

They paid €1 ($1.37) for the CAM Bank, which is more than it is worth!

The Deposit Guarantee Fund will pay the estimated €5249 million ($7200 million) it will cost to repair the CAM Bank's finances.

The Deposit Guarantee Fund (DGF) comprises of 0.2% of all the monies held on deposit by customers of all the other banks, building societies and co-operatives in Spain.

The managers of the Fund for Ordered Bank Restructuring (FROB) said there should be no further increased demand made on the DGF, and the present management of Banco Sabadell have already proved themselves adept after their merger with both the Urquijo and Atlántico Banks.

FROB are aware, however, that the CAM has a portfolio of up to 24,000 million potential bad debts, together with customers leaving in droves and a highly-demotivated workforce.

Cam Bank logo
Cam Bank logo | Source

As a reluctant customer of the CAM Bank, I welcome this new move with open arms.

I am frankly sick of getting my money (allegedly) stolen by the bank teller in my local branch.

Read "The CAM Bank Loses Customer Trust". That customer was me.

Twice before, this teller has openly ripped me off, and she did it again today. I cancelled my compulsory CAM Bank insurance three months ago, and bought another, better, policy from someone else, at half the price.

Two days ago, I went in to pay my mortgage, but she demanded I pay the insurance first. I told her I had cancelled and had bought (and paid for) a new insurance.

She insisted that I had not followed the correct procedure, and that I must pay this insurance.

Now, in Spain, you can't just dispute a payment, and then make a payment to something else, so I was not allowed to pay my mortgage, but when late payments are made, there are late payments charges to be made too, and they are not light.

I think it would have cost me an extra $30 if I left off payment till Monday, so I went in today.

I had €550 in my purse - the mortgage is just under €500. I withdrew a further €400 from the debit machine at the door, estimating the insurance to be around €250 for six months, leaving me enough to buy some food to see me through the weekend, and for most of next week too.

I went in, she asked for 775.78, and I counted out the 775 in front of her. She took the money through the glass panel while I rummaged in my purse for the change.

She then said to me "You are €50 short".

Oh, man, history repeating itself!

I said "No, I'm not, I counted out the correct money, You saw me do it."

So she recounted the money that was now on her side the partition, not once, but twice.

AND it was €50 short. So I paid over another €50, but looking in my purse had only €75 left.

Here is the math: 550 + 400 = 950. 950 - 775 = 175. But I am left with 75.

How did she do it?

I don't know, but she did something. I left the bank, but I am returning on Monday to demand she check what the machine at the door paid out. I must admit that on this occasion I did not count it at that point. But if it paid out €50 short, plus the other €50 she stole from me (allegedly), that would explain the loss of €100.

€100 is a fortune to me!

I can't afford to lose it, so I have written a nice letter which I am about to email off to the new bosses at Banco Sabadell, explaining this series of events, and asking them to do something to clean this branch up.

On my way home, I popped into the local Consum supermarket, and told the Spanish girls who work there what had happened.

"Oh", they said, "she does this all the time!"

Many of the elderly in our village do not read and write, and she rips them off big-time, all the time.

Indeed, one of the girls told me the story of how her own mother had gone into the CAM Bank and paid in €100, only to find out weeks later that the teller had marked it as a withdrawal, without ever giving her any money of course.

I will update this hub, if and when I see a satisfactory reply from Banco Sabadell, who I have the feeling have no idea what they have taken on, but they have a reputation to re-build, and now seems as good a time as any to start working on their customer relations.


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