EXCLUSIVE by James Bryce
EXPAT customers of one of Spain’s leading banks are protesting over claims that it has misled them over their savings.
Michael Davenport, 61, insists he was lied to when he opened what he thought was a standard savings account at La Caixa’s Calahonda branch in 2007.
But when the businessman tried to access some of his savings three years later, he was told he would have to wait for at least another six years.
Indeed, scouring the small print, Davenport, originally from Cheshire, discovered that the money was tied up in mortgage bonds until 2016.
“And I was told that the only way I could access it was if someone bought the bonds on the secondary market, which would incur commission charges,” he told the Olive Press.
The father-of-one, who runs Davenport Investments in Calahonda, has now discovered that there are many others who have also lost out.
Various forums and a dedicated Facebook page is full of investors, who claim they have been similarly misled.
These include a 77-year-old woman who is not able to access her savings until 2017.
“I am amazed that they didn’t give us the full facts,” said Davenport. “I signed the paperwork in good faith. I didn’t have any reason to suspect that they would lie to my face.
“I think people need to be warned,” added Davenport, who is now protesting outside the bank each week.
A financial expert Gwilym Rhys Jones told the Olive Press: “These are sophisticated investment products designed for sophisticated investors. The customers should have been given the copy documents at the time of signing the contract.”
Last night La Caixa said: “We have a formal complaints procedure for customers to follow.”