Opening a bank account with Eurobank - Greece (Athens)
Executive summary: As is turns out crisis stricken Greece has turned into a psychopath police state where the banks and their employees are no longer servicing their clients, but acting as police officers, law interpreters and revenue agents for the Greek, European community and foreign tax authorities, regardless of if these foreign countries have taxation or certain filing requirement. They even look for compliance with foreign tax laws that do not exist.
Foreign direct investment in Greece will not improve anytime soon because the banks have gone full retard and demand so much new arbitrary documentation that it is simple not possible to do business here unless you are coming with at least half a million Euros to invest. SMALL-TIME INVESTORS, STAY AWAY, THIS COUNTRY WILL EAT UP ANY PROFITS IN ADMINISTRATION.
As a non-resident of the European Union, but a citizen I have made the decision to make some modest investment in Greece and obviously need a bank account to pay electric bills, phone bills, association fees, buy beds and appliances here locally. I should mention that I am a private investor and do not engage in salaried employment since Protected content .
There is a number of requirements when opening bank account here in Greece as specified by Law Protected content and decision 281/5/17.3. Protected content the Bank of Greece, some of which are not entirely clear but regardless, I made a shot with Eurobank at Λ. ΣΥΓΓΡΟΥ 112, Protected content with telephone number Protected content brought what I had.
1. The first time I had an electric bill from my foreign residence, my AΦΜ letter from the Greek tax authorities, my European Union passport, my foreign permanent residency card and two declarations from a local notary indicating the costs and government fees for my investments here. I found the staff quite friendly at first, but it soon became clear that they were not familiar, nor comfortable, nor understood their local law locals and requirements and decided to "wing it" as far as requirements. They asked me to go to my foreign embassy and get a letter to clarifying my address, identity and what I work with (embassies cannot certify what a person works with, but they demanded it regardless). Also, I voluntarily ordered a tax payment certificate from the country matching my European Union citizenship.
I immediately made an appointment to go the embassy to get a residency confirmation letter in Greek. They were located in Piraeus so it was quite the trip and walk and they only accepted payment in US dollars cash so an exchange was needed, but what is three-four hours of work and $30 in fees if you are guaranteed to get bank account after, or so I thought....
2. For round two the first personal banking representative had been temporarily assigned as a teller and was busy so another one was assigned to me although I insisted I could wait and did not want to explain everything to someone else. To no avail of course. She quickly reviewed the letter from the embassy which was in Greek and did not seem pleased as it did not explain what my employment was. I told her that embassies do not certify employment, but they can certify my permanent residency and legal address based on my electric bill which they have done. I also provided a business card for the Greek assistant to the consul who could verify what they do in the embassy in Greek as needed. She explained that she needed a bank reference letter as well and information related to a foreign investment vehicle that I own (it's unrelated to Greece). Again, I explained that I am private investor using my own personal savings to invest in Greece and do not carry an employment.
3. For round three I decided to really put in an extra effort and brought several new documents:
a - A reference letter from the bank in which the deposit are currently held.
b - A letter from myself certifying that I am private investor using personal savings and that I do not have a bank account in any other Greek bank.
c - A company extract from the online public records verifiable by anyone to be accurate assuming they were allowed to access the internet (they employees in the bank are not for obvious reasons, in fact I am surprised they are allowed to have their own smart phones with internet).
d - The registration with the tax authorities in the foreign country, also verifiable online as needed.
e - A statement with my six last year's tax payments executed for the same entity.
f - A copy of my Master's degree from a European Union University.
After this round the personal banker decided that I should go translate the documents from a foreign country which were in Spanish. I explained that I informed the bank that they would come from a country in which the official language is Spanish during round two and also that PRESIDENTE does not really require a translation as the English version is PRESIDENT. I indicated that they could clearly see from the documents that I am president and treasurer of the business and that this same information is verifiable online. She then insisted that they need to know where my money comes from. I again explained that I assumed I brought a bank reference letter for that very purpose and that translating the Spanish documents would not provide any additional evidence of where my funds come from. Well, since logic did not apply I insisted that they submit what they have to compliance department without the Spanish documents. Then they simple asked me to leave the bank, an order which I refused. The branch manager who did not speak a single word of English got involved at times, but for what purpose but to avoid foreign direct investment is beyond me. Finally they submitted the documents, including the Spanish documents to the compliance department against my will and instructions and after about 30 minutes they came back and said that they need them translated. To comply with this request I indicated that I require a guarantee from the bank that it will result in the opening of requested bank account. They denied this request and simply blindly asked me to find a translator for completely obvious and really useless documents for proving the origin of my funds for an uncertain round four with a staff that so far has done nothing but provide a Kafkaesque experience. At this point the personal banker refused to attend me any further and simply left her desk and quipped that I need to being SOMETHING - of course I already had with extra flesh on top. I certainly did not leave the desk that I had been sitting at for close to three hours by now and requested that I get a written response from the bank denying me the account opening. So I write a letter to the bank inside the branch stating the following:
First a list of all the documents I brought.
I have been to the bank 3 times and each time they ask me to bring something else. I believe that I have complied with Law Protected content and 281/5/17.3. Protected content the most complete manner I possibly could.
The bank staff is now simply refusing to consider opening the account or provide a written statement as to what exactly is missing. It appears that they are simply guessing as to what they need.
After this I gave my name and my email for a response and request:
a - Please provide me with A FINAL decision in writing denying me the account.
b - Please provide EVIDENCE as to what you need in addition to open the account.
I then explain that my request has been serviced by the office of EUROBANK Ergasias A.E. at Λ. ΣΥΓΓΡΟΥ 112, Protected content Athens and finally write:
The service and professionalism by the office I believe is WAY BELOW the standards that a bank should offer.
NOTE: I plan to transfer 10.000 Euros from abroad to the account as it is the minimum requirement and spend the money on food, air conditioners, beds, linens, transportation and general hygiene if that is permitted under Greek law. As some of you might very well know, it is a REALLY STUPID idea to transfer money to a Greek bank as they have capital controls. This means that you can only withdraw Protected content per week and could be subject to a bail-in on my cash balance with the bank at any time. My total expenses in time for achieving this is about Protected content in lost time, assuming that I am allowed to assign myself Protected content for every hour spent on the subject.