The difficulties that I described in my Banking for Bug blog brought a few comments from others who are almost equally mesmerized by the workings (although workings seems to be a most inappropriate word) of banks. In fact, since then, The Very Nice Man has posted of his own frustrations on his blog. The sundry comments and Nice Man's blog caused another incident to resurface from the deep, dark, and dank recesses of my memory.
It was just over a year ago in our cross-province move. Within 24 hours we had to close two real estate deals: the selling of our old house and the purchasing of our new one. That's a lot of money to process within a very short span of time. The deal on the new house would unfold like so: the lawyer would call in the morning and tell us the exact amount of the bank draft that we'd have to bring to his office. The problem was that our bank in Sarnia did not have a branch of our bank in this small town.
No problem: we would simply open an account an a different bank.
In we walked to a branch of that particular bank in Sarnia. "We wish to open an account at your branch in Mills."
"Sorry. Can't be done."
"We can only open accounts for this branch."
"What are we then to do?"
"Pick up the phone and dial this central number, and you can open an account at any branch anywhere."
"We can open an account on the phone but not in an actual bank building?"
"That's correct. But I would be glad to dial the number for you and get the process started"
That's what she did. She talked into the phone and informed someone in someplace (Delhi perhaps — certainly not in Mills) of our request. She passed the phone over to me, and I supplied the required details.
And so it came to pass that we were able to open an account in our new town, and the financial transactions all went very smoothly.
Although, the various individuals that we had to involve in the process were most helpful, the mystery remains. Why is it that you can open an account via an almost anonymous phone call but not by presenting yourself to a branch of that institution? It's a mystery I tell ya.