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Colombia Expat Forum

Banking and International Transfers

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psyberpete
7/13/2018 13:27 EST

Hi folks --

I've been coming to Colombia for years and mado y spouse is paisa. We're trying to buy another house for cash. Previously we bought a house in Envigado, even had a mortage with Bancolombia.

In preparation for this I've wired money to myself twice, first was about $30K, most recent was $90K in March 2018. Both times more documentation was asked for than I intended but wound up on the phone "negotiating" the exchange rate within 20-30 minutes of talking with bank employee.

This time around around I sent the money Monday, arrived Wednesday, went to the bank Thursday and suddenly there's a problem because it's "a lot of money." With Americans investing so often and there even being a visa for those who do, what's going on? Is it just the personalities of different people running the branch (Parque Envigado)?

I understand the legacy of narcotrafficking (sp?) and whatnot but this is such a blunt instrument. They never seem to examine the pattern of money movement. Who puts money into an account for criminal reasons but never does anything with it?

I've heard of outfits like Allianza but never pursued anything because I didn't think I needed to. What exactly do they do?

A lot of questions and issues. Insights much appreciated.

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canpandave
7/13/2018 13:33 EST

I just transferred a relatively small amount ($10k)my bank manager told me that the Banco de la Republico has come down with new and firm rules, not insurmountable but painful....

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psyberpete
7/13/2018 13:43 EST

Thanks --

It just makes them look so primitive when they don't examine things, i.e. patterns etc.

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ponymalta
7/13/2018 14:05 EST

psyberpete,

welcome to Colombia ! best is when same person at the same bank on two different days the same week gives different rules to follow !

Colombia may be more open to foreign investment than some Latin American countries, but they certainly don't try to make it easy to do so ! Part of the problem is the way regulations are written in Colombia - it is not uncommon for regulations themselves to contradict themselves, so even those imposing the regulation are terribly confused what to do.


Kind of hilarious all these rules supposedly geared up to catch narcos- one glance at all the building in Medellin shows the rules are ineffective with the supposed intent.

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tubes
7/13/2018 17:48 EST

Any transfers of $10,000 and inside 30 days need to be reported to the authorities (as they are considered likely drug moneys.)

If you must do big transfers you need to show the relevant documentation to the bank who can then authorize it.

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psyberpete
7/13/2018 20:07 EST

Thanks. I did provide documentation of the origin of the money - bank statements for me and my company, w-2's, paystubs, etc. and that was fine first 2 times (4 months apart), BUT now they want documentation for the DESTINATION, i.e. a contract to buy a house when I'm looking for one. How do I have money to enter into a contract for a house when I can't get the money released?

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tubes
7/14/2018 09:27 EST

Obviously one needs to show a copy of the the house purchase agreement.
No problems there.
The sale itself takes time as the notarias set up the final sale transfer documents giving you the time you need to organize the moneys.

Don't forget that you need additional documentation if you intend to sell the house to a foreigner or export the money in the future.

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psyberpete
7/14/2018 11:11 EST

Not sure I understand. How is that obvious? What if I don't find something this visit? Pull the money back, make another visit, wire money, don't find a house, pull the money back, etc...? Finding the right place takes time and patience...

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tubes
7/14/2018 11:47 EST

psyberpete:

Buying a house (especially in another country) is not like buying a car. You cant't just pay cash and drive it away.
You need to take your time selecting a place that you want and in the right location.

Then and only then you need to start organizing the money transfer.
You show the preliminary sale documents to your Colombian bank, who authorize the transfer with the authorities in Bogota. You import the money and then transfer it to the seller to complete the sale.

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RM12
7/14/2018 13:49 EST

In Colombia as in many Developing economies, you could enter into a ' Agreement to Sell ' by paying a token.
This agreement gives you some time to arrange the balance amount and then execute the final ' Sale Deed'.
Hold the money in your US account and transfer only after the agreement to sell. This document can then be submitted to Bank and money transfer effected after their nod.
Would mean one extra step but will be worth it.

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RM12
7/14/2018 13:49 EST

In Colombia as in many Developing economies, you could enter into a ' Agreement to Sell ' by paying a token.
This agreement gives you some time to arrange the balance amount and then execute the final ' Sale Deed'.
Hold the money in your US account and transfer only after the agreement to sell. This document can then be submitted to Bank and money transfer effected after their nod.
Would mean one extra step but will be worth it.

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RM12
7/14/2018 13:50 EST

In Colombia as in many Developing economies, you could enter into a ' Agreement to Sell ' by paying a token.
This agreement gives you some time to arrange the balance amount and then execute the final ' Sale Deed'.
Hold the money in your US account and transfer only after the agreement to sell. This document can then be submitted to Bank and money transfer effected after their nod.
Would mean one extra step but will be worth it.

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0abuse

RM12
7/14/2018 13:50 EST

In Colombia as in many Developing economies, you could enter into a ' Agreement to Sell ' by paying a token.
This agreement gives you some time to arrange the balance amount and then execute the final ' Sale Deed'.
Hold the money in your US account and transfer only after the agreement to sell. This document can then be submitted to Bank and money transfer effected after their nod.
Would mean one extra step but will be worth it.

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novato1953
7/14/2018 16:00 EST

Ironclad financing, two now-volatile currencies at play, all set to just glide through the paint to the basket. You could be golden.

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