Unfortunately, in recent weeks, BAM! – a former blocked account provider has had major difficulties in adequately servicing its clients. As a result, many international students in Germany found themselves in an existentially threatening situation and struggle to cover their living expenses. This is despite the fact that a blocked account is designed to ensure that internationals can support themselves financially in Germany and maintain an acceptable standard of living.
The reason for this development was that the bank of the former provider had legitimately terminated their business relationship, as BAM! did not have a licence to operate their blocked account business (additional information on bank security and regulatory requirements is summarised here).
Fortunately, the funds of all affected students were not embezzled. The German financial supervisory authority (BaFin) reacted quickly and professionally when it learned of the situation by ordering BAM! to discontinue its operations. In addition, BaFin published helpful information on the status of student funds and how to open a new blocked account with another provider to resume payments and cover their living expenses.
After seeing the first posts by concerned students on Reddit at the beginning of July, we at Fintiba have been following the development of the situation closely and had started working on a solution. To gain more clarity, we contacted the relevant authorities, the bank of the former provider, as well as BAM! itself. Based on the available information we immediately started developing a process for a possible transfer of the BAM! blocked accounts to our partner Sutor Bank. Our goal is to help quickly and make the process as simple and smooth as possible for all affected international students.
Personal note to all those concerned:
Fintiba was founded in 2016 to help international students fulfil their dream of coming to stay, study and work in Germany. Our goal has always been to make the process as easy, transparent and quick as possible for all our clients. Thus, the current situation is worrying and all of us at Fintiba feel truly sorry for everyone affected.
To show our support, we have decided to offer all current BAM! clients the option to transfer their account to Fintiba and thus open a new blocked account with us. We are waiving the account opening fees and will bear all the costs for the account set-up, e.g. for the legally required legitimation, ourselves.
With our transfer offer, we are doing our best to support everyone affected. However, as this is a completely new situation for us as well, involving a number of other parties (e.g. BAM!, Aareal Bank, BaFin, etc.) we ask for your understanding should the transfer and pay-out process take longer or be a little more complicated than usual. Rest assured though that we at Fintiba will do everything we can to support you in this challenging time.