Yes, another banking story. But, a good one this time. I recently joined a new Facebook page called Surviving Mexico City where the topics range from how to keep people from blocking your driveway to how to avoid being served a Nescafé when what you asked for was coffee. On that page, I read a thread about easy and discounted bank transfers from Wells Fargo accounts in the US to BBVA Bancomer accounts in Mexico. Not only discounted bank transfers, but Bancomer can also deposit US checks, and depending where you live, allow you to keep both dollar and peso accounts.
For us, we have financial obligations in the US which require us to transfer money back to the US on a regular basis. If you add up the commission fees from both banks, it comes out to nearly $50 in fees. However, I just found out that Bancomer has a relationship with Compass Bank in the US. So if you happen to come from the following states -- Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas -- it behooves you to open a Bancomer account in Mexico and a Compass account in the US if you have bills to pay in the US. Why? Because there's only a $5 fee on wire transfers between Bancomer and Compass Bank.
And, certain branches throughout Mexico have a segment called the Preferred Customer Unit, a foreigner-friendly banking service. They guarantee Preferred Customers an English-speaking banker, no waiting in line, free online banking, access to English-speaking mortgage bankers, and more.
So, of course, we went to open one of these accounts last week, and it was nothing short of a miracle. We had a fully-functioning bank account in one hour, debit cards in hand, and just because I could, I chatted with my banker -- in English -- for over an hour. It became another long trip to the bank but only because I didn't want to leave!