I opened a French bank account this week – and to my surprise, it proved easy to do. I was expecting endless form-filling and the need to provide evidence in triplicate, but no.
In fact, I got so into the swing of it, I opened both a current and a savings account.
Now I am French tax resident and have a French mobile number, a French email address and a French bank account, I think it’s safe to say I’m integrated.
If only I could find a job here, I’d have a full hand.
I had delayed trying to open a bank account for my first year here. That’s only because the list of what the high street banks want as proof of ID is decidedly off-putting if you are a new arrival.
Three years’ worth of tax returns? No problem. But bills from the last 3 months proving your address in France? Problem.
You see, no one will put your name on a bill if you don’t have a French bank account. And you can’t get a bank account without a bill…
I was fully expecting a fight.
In fact, I thought I might have to resort to using Damon’s branch, but it’s half an hour or so away by metro in one of Lille’s suburbs. On the upside, they take a more relaxed view of proof of ID because of the sheer number of foreigners who are referred to them by Damon’s highly international employer.
But I didn’t need to. The city centre branch welcomed me openly.
The fact that I completed a tax return here in France for 2018 proved the clincher. Or so my new account manager at Société Générale told me.
“Now I am French tax resident and have a French mobile number, a French email address and a French bank account, I think it’s safe to say I’m integrated”
What’s more, because Damon has an account with them, he gets 40€ for ‘recommending’ me and I get 20€ for being ‘recommended’.
Interestingly, my account manager also said I am not the first Brit to have sat across the desk from her. She has seen plenty of Brits in the past year or so who have moved to Lille to escape Brexit.
For me, my post-Brexit life is well underway. I have a French bank account. I am home.