Giles Tremlett, the Guardian One Spanish business has hit upon a novel update to an old idea to bypass the country’s banking crisis – a mattress in which you can stash your hard-earned eurosMy Mattress Savings BankMy Mattress Savings Bank features a safe hidden among the bed springs. Is your money safe in the bank? Obviously not if you deposited large sums in Cyprus – where the decision to raid savings accounts has rung alarm bells in other countries teetering on the bank bailout high-wire. But what else can you do with those hard-earned pounds, euros or – for Russian tax-dodgers and mafiosi – roubles? Stuffing them under the floorboards or your mattress is hardly a secure option. Step forward La Caja de Ahorros Mi Colchón, My Mattress Savings Bank, a novel Spanish business that provides you with a mattress that has a safe hidden inside the springs. A few months ago the company’s founder, Paco Santos, saw his bespoke mattress company in the small western town of Santa Marta de Tormes heading the same way as many small businesses in a recession-plagued country with 26% unemployment. With scared consumers keeping purses tightly zipped, sales had dried up and companies were folding. «Sales in the slumber sector are down more than 50%,» he explains. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of angry Spanish small savers were taking to the streets. Why? Because they had invested in the country’s dodgy cajas, or savings banks. Last weekend, the worst was confirmed: 350,000 small savers who each bought €6,000 in shares in the rescued Bankia bank were cleaned out as their shares’ value fell close to zero. A further 300,000 people who bought complex, often unintelligible, products from cajas that eventually needed a joint €40bn European bailout saw their savings shaved by so-called «haircuts» of 30-60%. «Banks are in the headlines now because of Cyprus, but in Spain we have known how dangerous they can be for several years,» says Santos. «People were starting to say it was better to keep it under your mattress». At the urging of advertising company VCCP Madrid, providing free help under a scheme to stop small businesses from folding, Santos explored the idea of helping people to do exactly that – by adding safes to mattresses. A tongue-in-cheek advertisement encouraged suspicious punters to avoid bank charges and «keep your money close – and far from the banks». Wilier Spaniards may also have seen a system for dodging the tax man. Either way, the mattress safe has saved Santos’s business. The first 20 sold out within 24 hours. He refuses to give figures for orders, but admits these will keep him going for several months at least. Security firms are also showing interest. And export enquiries have come from companies trading with Chile, Mexico and – inevitably – Cyprus. Santos claims that by putting the safes at the end of the mattress, customers snooze just as comfortably as on a normal bed. He also admits that, as a bank, a mattress has certain disadvantages. It does not hand out credit cards or overdrafts and it will not lend you money. But in credit-crunched Spain, your high-street bank probably will not lend you anything anyway. As Cypriot banks finally opened their doors again yesterday, and while German chancellor Angela Merkel presses for savers (rather than her own taxpayers) to fund bank rescues around Europe, punters in countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal may find Santos’s message irresistible: invest wisely – stick it in your mattress.