Banking Solution at Lake Chapala Ajijic, Mexico

April 8, 2014

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Hi Everyone,

I opened an account many years ago at California Commerce Bank  in Los Angeles, later renamed BanaMexUSA.

I still have that same account where my USA pension is sent.

I can access my funds via local ATM machines, but sometimes the money has run out, the machine doesn’t read my card, the machine doesn’t accept my pin number, there’s a limit on how much you can get, etc. etc.

When I complained to BanaMex USA, I  learned that I could obtain up to $1,000 USD in pesos by going to the local BanaMex here at Chapala.

I did this once. Once was enough for me! The amount of hurry up and wait times, the number of bank employees I had to see, the number of times I had to prove who I was etc. was extremely frustrating.

They wanted me to open an account with them, but I was happy with the BanaMex USA account I already had, And, like many of you, I had numerous automatic payments coming out of the account and it would be very big pain you know where to try and change all of those accounts to a Mexican bank dealing in pesos.

To do this, my pension would be changed into pesos and then to pay automatic billing in dollars some of my money would have to be changed back to dollars.

A few months ago I  opened an account at CI Bancohere so I could pay my Gardener  even when traveling or visiting the USA.

 He opened an account at CI Banco and they transferred his regular pay weekly from my account to his account. I did not have to bother friends to pay him while we were traveling and everything worked out quite well.

 Then, more recently I learned that I could write a check on my USA Bank account and deposit it to my CI Banco Account here, conveniently located at the Laguna Shopping plaza, which always has lots of easy parking…and within about 5 minutes I can withdraw some or all of the funds deposited in pesos at a good exchange rate.

So, I get my personal checks cashed, in effect with no commission, and just pay the normal exchange rate in effect as if I had given them cash dollars for pesos, but with the convenience of writing a check.

From what I know now, this seems like the solution for many people who think they will have to close their home town bank and open an account here in Mexico.

Or of course you could struggle with the various ATM machines in the area, which far to often for me are out of money, do not accept your pin, read your card accurately, and charge you a fee to get your money.  Not so at CI Banco.

CI Banco also makes it easy to open an account. All you need is your passport, your Permanent or Temporary Visa and proof of a local address (a telephone bill, electric bill can provide this proof).

So now, instead of fooling with cumbersome ATM machines or spending a half  day or more at BanaMex I can write a check on  my USA checking account and get $1,000 USD in Pesos in about 5 minutes with no commission.  (I don’t know what the upper limit would be, but $1,000 USD in pesos lasts me the better part of  a month here.)

 The lady executive in charge of CI Banco here at Lake Chapala is Ma. Alehandra de la Torre Pulido.  Each time I visit, her English is better as more and more North Americans are finding the little bank with big service in Plaza Centro Laguna, # 22 A  across from the Wal Mart.

All for now, Tu amigo, Sid

P.S. See what buyer’s of my book are saying. My buttons are popping! 

*****5 out of 5 stars Great Information, March 8, 2014

Nana DeneSee all my reviews

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This review is from: How to Live A Caviar Lifestyle on a Tuna Fish Pension At Safe, Beautiful & Affordable Lake Chapala, Mexico (Paperback)
I just finished reading Sid’s book for the 2nd time. I’ve had a complimentary telephone consultation with him, so I feel like we’re old friends <smile>.
The 1st time I read it was on the plane on my way down for my one and only exploratory visit. I pretty much knew I would be relocating there unless everything I’d read was exaggerated or false. Unfortunately, when I got there (the week of Thanksgiving 2013), Sid was back in the US for the holiday. I was on my own.
All of the information I got from this book and others was all I had to go on. Thank goodness for all the great information. I was able to navigate successfully from beginning to end. I even enjoyed several “Negra Modelos”, a musical concert in the Plaza, a late night comedy revue, and a lot of delicious food!
I met several great people and very friendly animals. I received 1st rate service from Jorge Torres and a couple of other rental specialists. Most importantly to me, I was able to determine the community that best suited my needs.
Being back in the Mid-Atlantic US for the past 3 months of ” the winter from hell” cemented my decision. After combing through multiple web listings as often as possible, I finally found a house to rent. This is what triggered me to re-read the book. From a real estate point of view, I feel well-armed with the information I need for a smooth transaction. Thanks for the Caviar!


  • Juan y Juana

    Sid, what is an exchange rate that you got recently? One person’s definition of what a “good exchange rate” is can differ widely from another person’s. ;-)


  • mitch

    Thanks Sid good to know I also have my check deposited into my Banamex USA account then I call a toll free number at the bank and transfer money to my Banamex MX > debit account in Mexico where I have to keep a balance of 2,000 pesos all the time
    Anyone can get a Banamex USA account by phone or on their web site

  • Sid Grosvenor

    The rates change daily, but lately I’ve received 12.5 pesos per USD. I like to see the rate stay at 12 to 1 or better. Tu amigo, Sid

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