Gibraltar International Bank

The Gibraltar International Bank was heralded as the great white hope for those of us who banked with Barclay’s. Fear not, there will be people there, a walk in branch, with real humans to talk to, to deal with for telephone support etc, it’ll also offer online banking and mortgages and loans. It’ll fill the gap that Barclay’s will leave.

At the end of last year, say November time, Mr BOTR and myself trotted down to the temporary Europort offices to apply for a current account for us both. A joint one. Our first joint account. What with being married and all it seemed about time.

We waited for paperwork to confirm that we had been accepted which turned up a while later and then we waited with the rest of Gibraltar with breath that was bated for the transformation of that old building at the end of Main Street.

In the time since we got our letter of acceptance the service has been shambolic at best.

In February we moved house. Mr BOTR emailed our new details over, then he hand delivered the same details after our post was sent to our old address, this was a few weeks after the branch opened, and we had received a letter saying thanks for the change of address details. Yes really. Then there was the bank card situation. Whilst we all (as in every customer in Gibraltar) were issued with new cards, just a matter of weeks after receiving the original ones, after it was discovered that the originals only worked as cash cards, and that outside of Gibraltar they were no good for anything other looking pretty in your wallet, we all had to wait for the new pin numbers and security gadgets that came with online banking and the cards. We were sent our new cards to our old address. Even after notifying the bank of our change of address again, and being sent more correspondence to do with the account to our new address. The new security ‘dongles’ were also sent there (our old address), so by the time we were done we had about four of everything in the house.

The new cards, not only having been sent to our old address, they were sent in envelopes so flimsy that they might as well have just been sent taped to the back of a sheet of paper. Our security post was opened. (Our old apartment is empty and our old landlord checks the box once a month, I trust them implicitly not to have tampered with our mail.) But not to worry as it was the security details for the now out of date card, that had been sent in duplicate.

Our new card details were sent a few weeks after that to the new address. But the pins didn’t work. So Mr BOTR went off to the branch to seek assistance. Not once but twice as the new details that were sent out to us after his first visit weren’t printed properly so they wouldn’t work unless you had insider information.
My card however, well as I didn’t want access to online banking, I just wanted to be able to use it when I’m out in Gibraltar, Spain or the UK, should have been easier to set up. I just needed a pin number…
… And I still do. I’m still waiting. Mr BOTR has got his working. But he isn’t that keen on using the account as the service doesn’t inspire confidence. Oddly his post arrives just fine from the bank now; mine however, although attributed to the very same account has gone awry. This week I telephoned to request yet another new pin as the last one hasn’t arrived since my previous request six weeks ago. (This will be the sixth pin for my never accessed account.) My call was answered by ‘James’ who took my name, listened to what I wanted, asked me to hold and then promptly dumped my call into the main queue again. When I was finally picked up (admittedly it was not a long wait) again I yet again gave my name and request to another young man, whose name I didn’t get, he said he’d send one.

Now this isn’t in my mind very reassuring. He didn’t ask for my account number, my address, any security details and as of yet we have had no post. I just gave my name. Now chances are I am the only Mrs BOTR here in Gibraltar with an account, but surely more details should have been taken? What was to say I was even who I was saying I was? Does this mean I can ring and pretend to be numerous friends who have all got accounts (I’ve checked how their service has been handled, answer; not good) and order new pins, get ‘my’ balance and transfer funds? It was just totally unprofessional.

If the bank has decided they don’t wish to deal with me, and just Mr BOTR (which is their right) I find it somewhat irritating to be given the runaround. Just write and say, although may I suggest using our current address to speed things up as we only contact our old landlord once a month to see if we have post from the bank.

In the mean time I just watch others get just as annoyed as me, and I read articles hailing the bank as a success with a pinched expression on my face. May I ask that the local press actually print an honest article, perhaps written from the point of view of a very frustrated customer? Because so far whenever I discuss the bank with people, I don’t get the feeling that anyone other than their PR department thinks they are offering a great service.

Stories I have been told so far. It took the bank over six months to provide a PDQ machine to a local pharmacy, leaving them only able to take cash for several weeks, which impacted on their takings. A friend checked their balance to find themselves £5k up. Happy days right? Until you think about the poor customer who deposited the funds. It was reported and the staff member was rather nonplussed and uninterested in sorting out where the money had come from, I don’t really appreciate a laid back attitude when it comes to dealing with my money. Am I alone in feeling that way?

Fortunately for us we also bank with Natwest, but worryingly this isn’t the case for everyone here. So I am posting this as a plea to Gibraltar International Bank to pull their finger out, to get people’s accounts up and running properly, and to stop issuing irritating ‘we are so great’ press statements when so far in almost a year of having my account I’ve not been able to gain access to it once.

So a helpful hint; maybe learn to walk before you run? Be honest with timelines. If you want people to apply and set up accounts, tell them they’ll be ready to use in a year, as opposed to a few months down the line, and then have to face the angry complaints of people expecting a service which quite frankly doesn’t exist. Employ people who actually give a crap on the telephone. Who don’t call midweek on a landline and expect you to be at home. Seriously, they are at work, where do they think their customers are going to be? Have a call structure, I think a minimum of two security questions should be answered. I don’t want random people getting hold of my details. Also and most importantly please, please, please update my damned address and send me my pin.
End of rant.

Photo credit to

8 thoughts on “Gibraltar International Bank

    1. Oddly that happened with very little bother, a ten minute queue, sit down, picture taken, old ID card shown, and ten days later we got the letter to go and collect it. I gather you’ve had the opposite experience, I have heard some horror stories about it. But for us it went quite well!


      1. When did you go? It only takes about 10-14 days. I have no idea what the letter said, as Mr BOTR kindly opened it and said it was ready, he got me to sign a waiver so he could collect it…


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