Millennium BCP is holding up my Golden Visa application--how can I resolve this issue?

Long story short: I am on a D7 visa, but am in the process of switching over to a GV via IMGA investment with Bison Bank.

Originally, I had been planning to purchase commercial real estate and wired funds to my Millennium BCP for the purchase, but the deal fell through and I switched toward the investment fund option. About a month ago, I transferred the funds over to Bison Bank from Millennium BCP to finance the purchase of the investment fund purchase without any issue.

However, this transfer seems to have initiated some sort of internal investigation over at Millennium BCP since I had originally opened the account with them for my D7 visa and they didn’t realize that I was planning to apply for a GV. I have no clue why any of this matters to them since the investment has been made with Bison Bank and the money only passed through Millennium temporarily.

The problem is this: in order to submit my application for the GV, I need to have a letter from Millennium BCP stating that the funds were transferred from overseas. My lawyers requested this letter three weeks ago from my bank manager and they have been totally unresponsive to our emails except for the occasional brief email to state that they are “still investigating” the “reclassification” of my account. They have provided no timeline whatsoever and with each passing day, multiple apostilled documents are at risk of expiring. None of this makes any sense.

Does anyone know if I have any legal recourse here or if there is an agency in Portugal to whom I can submit a formal complaint against Millennium BCP to get them to expedite this process?

I am at wits end here. That my application is now being held up due to this is just mindbogglingly frustrating to me.

I can recommend one thing before any ‘legal recourse’:

  • go to your branch, find the branch manager and talk to him/her.

I know it would require and in-person trip to Portugal, but this is how things mainly work over there (or should I say over here :slight_smile: )

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Thanks. I’m here now, so I may do just that.

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Strictly speaking In banking terms it is a red flag to change the status without informing the banks compliance team about it. This comes under AML and legal options does very little in your case. These are the suggested steps you should take:

  1. Get the proofs of your source of Funds
  2. Get your tax returns
  3. Your story on what really happened with all the proofs.

Send it to your Relationship manager and ask him/her to speak with the compliance team to unfreeze. This would take anywhere between couple of weeks to months but it will be solved eventually. One can never win against the compliance team…

Thanks. I’ve already provided them with all the information they requested.

The thing is, what “status” did I change? I’m still legally here on a D7 visa and all that I did was transfer funds through Millennium BCP to Bison Bank. Ordinarily I would’ve just transferred the money directly to Bison Bank, but because the money was originally intended for a failed real estate deal, it passed through Millennium.

And just to be clear, my account isn’t frozen, I’m just waiting for them to issue a declaration to include in my GV application stating that the funds came from overseas.

Resurrecting this thread as it’s now been another two weeks and no update from Millennium BCP’s end.

I’ve begun looking up individuals in their compliance department to send direct emails and haven’t heard back from anyone yet.

Is anyone aware of a governmental body in Portugal similar to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the U.S. where I might be able to file a formal complaint against them?

It’s been a month now and this is literally the last item holding up my GV application. It’s insane.

You can write to the Banco de Portugal.
https://www.bportugal.pt/en/page/conduct-regulation

But have you spoken to your branch manager?

Just wanted to quickly update everyone to let you all know that nearly four months later and Millennium BCP still hasn’t resolved this issue for me.

Let this be a warning to anyone who decides to do business with them in the future, although I’m not sure other consumer-level banking options in Portugal would be any better.

Maybe they are doing you a favor by talking you out of ARI.

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I am having a problem (less serious than your case) with Millenium. At least my problem at the moment does not affect to my GV status. It is very dangerous parking your money or applying GV via Millennium. Not sure if it is safer with other portuguese banks.

I second that, they have fallen off the cliff and they are nothing but a high cost, inefficient and non-existing customer service… If anyone can avoid Millennium , that shall be best in their own interests.

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I have been contemplating to move my PE fund units from MillenniumBCP to other bank. But am worried if similar thing will happen, when my fund units are no longer with MillenniumBCP and i need them to produce the certificate for fund transfer from overseas for my ARI renewal.

I imagine a fair part of the problem is simply attempting to work from remote, versus walking into a branch. Nothing in Portugal seems to work especially well via remote-control. You have to get in someone’s queue and get and hold their attention long enough to get what you want. Even whatsapp is an improvement, but anything important, I call now.

Also, personal relationship is important. The idea of moving around after the better deal… no. It’s not so much a transactional economy like an American might be used to. By moving away, I suspect you kinda told them “I don’t care about you any more” which results in “we don’t care about you either”.

Because of my circumstances, I ended up having to meet my lawyer in a scenario outside of the SEF appointment. We’ve shaken hands, had a coffee, had lunch. Guess what? I get attention when I need it! Of course they also treat me fairly and don’t overcharge. I kind of now make a point of dropping in and saying hi. And no, I don’t get billed for it.

You know one of the most telling things I learned at lunch? She idly commented that “you know, you’re the first GV client that came to have lunch? we never even see most of them except for the appointment” (or something like that).

One of the most important facets Portuguese culture is dinner. Closely followed by lunch. Remember that. It doesn’t matter if you dislike bacalhau (which I do) - smile and eat it.

Roger, it is most probably it is easier to leave your fund units where they are, and not worry about it - what’s the upside in moving them anyway?

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@jb4422
Hi Jeff,
I am 100% with what you said of the importance of relationships in PT. I also had lunch with my MillenniumBCP account manager and dropped in to say hi whenever I was in Lisbon.
The reason that i am thinking to move my fund units away from MillenniumBCP is that MillenniumBCP always withholds 10% of my fund income distribution, being non-PT tax resident. I will need to pay a tax lawyer to claim it back from AT, an amount sometime higher than the withholding tax, if i want.

I’ve found this to be the case (generally) as well. Frequent the same place (f2f), people get to know you and you get more reliable service. Not 100% always, but definitely improves the odds.

Hi All,

Do you happen to know of any method/contact number/human who can attend to a problem at Millennium BCP?
I know going to the branch is a great option, but it’s a bit inconvenient when the branch is 3000 miles away…
Whatever previously existed of their “customer service” seems to have by now vanished completely. It’s now a SEF-style service :grin:

You may consider give someone you trust the POA to go to the branch for you.

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Thanks for the suggestion, I have not actually thought about that!

UPD: I have managed to get to someone on the phone, so hopefully they can resolve it without me going to the branch. But of course there is now another wait…

By the way I have noticed some sharp decline in CS generally with banks not only in Portugal. I recently had a problem with a bank in my ‘home’ country and had to contact their CEO to get it resolved eventually.

Hey guys, what’s your experience with CGD? Are they any better with MBCP?..

Seems like my every other MBCP transfer gets stuck with ‘compliance’ and requires tremendous effort to get it unstuck… Sending money from myself to myself and they want to see an invoice?.. :face_with_monocle:

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