Update 16 September: Caixabank has announced the purchase of the Barclays Spain retail banking. This means that Barclays clients will pass over to be clients of Caixabank unless they opt to transfer to another bank. At present it is unclear whether Caixabank will maintain the old Barclays offices or transfer clients to existing Caixabank ones, but either way, clients will be allocated a new bank account number because of the way IBANs are structured. Caixabank says, however, that any existing direct debits will be changed automatically.
Although the terms and conditions of existing contracts like mortgages will remain unchanged, consumer authorities warn that this is not true for accounts and cards, where new conditions will certainly be imposed. Clients thinking of staying with Caixabank after the takeover should therefore check the detail very carefully, and are best advised to compare the offers available from other banks as though they were opening a brand new account.
Original post 19 May: Barclays Bank has announced that it is sidelining its banking businesses in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal into a new “bad bank” as part of an international restructuring exercise. Spanish customers of the new financial entity will then be sold on to a purchasing bank, expected at this point to be Bankinter, and will be in the same position as many other banking clients who have found their original bank absorbed into another, as in the case, for example, of Caja Canarias and La Caixa, or Banesto and Santander.
When an announcement is made that a buyer for Barclays Spain has been found, the bank’s customers would be well advised to check that any account numbers and direct debits have been altered correctly. Much of this should be done automatically but it is as well for account holders to confirm for their own peace of mind. Beyond specific accounts, those with Barclaycards will be well advised to check the situation with their cards since some holders are saying that they have received letters from Barclays Spain informing them that their card accounts will be closed if they have not been used in the past six months and are not linked to a UK address.