I can only tell you our experience so far on things that we have seen and done while in Ecuador. Banking has not been a very happy experience until now. Our first introduction into the Ecuadorian world of banking came back while we were still living in Panama. We were given a recommendation of a bank that would open a savings account for us before our move, this sounded great just what we needed to have some security before moving. Well saying it was too good to be true would be an understatement, after months of going back and forth, phone calls, emails, completing form, emailing form, faxing forms, emailing copies of our passports, drivers licensees, and then having to get originals of everything sent by courier — we never got an account. Our second encounter with banking happened after we had been in Ecuador for a few days, again we were given the name of a contact at another bank. Again we send copies, filled out forms, signed documents and again no account was given. Joe had worked in banking in the states before his retirement and I worked as a financial manager and worked with banking issues every day of my working career. We were very disenchanted in the system and actually were resigned to keeping our accounts in Panama and moving on to more important issues.
Months later while working with a realtor in Salinas he asked why if we had our resident cards that we did not have a bank account, we relayed our tiring story of the two attempts. He said let’s go to his bank because we could get an account within 30 minutes. We could not believe it but had 30 minutes to spare and he was exactly right. Our new bank Banco Boliviariano took a bit over 30 minutes but when we left the bank I had a savings account opened and a promise that both Joe and I would have cash (ATM – Clave- tarjetas ) card within three days. We did not know enough to ask for the debit cards to be international but while we were at the bank a few days ago it was taken care of within three minutes so we now can travel using our ATM card anywhere in the world. What we were told happened which was a change from the other experiences. We decided to see if we could open International VISA accounts. This was a matter of putting up what they call an insurance policy which is actually a certificate of deposit for one year which we will need to go into the bank to renew each year. Current rates are 4.25% – we put up $5,000 to get a credit card with a $3,500 limit.
A few extras that we did not think would be available with banking in “a developing country”. We can pay our electric, telephone and water bills directly from our account on line, their system is in Spanish but once you have done it a few times it’s a simple system and works very well.
They still use a pass book system so when you do go into the bank they update your book to show all transactions since your last visit. Old fashioned basic but we are attempting to slow our world down a bit and go back to the old fashioned basic way of doing things. This bank and their systems are working for us.
Banking is a very stressful subject so to calm your nerves here is a picture of the sunset from our back balcony.