Sunday, September 24, 2006

Another Banking Oddity

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."

"Say what?"

"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.


Heather said...

Sounds like my experience with the phone company.

Cathy said...

Ah, yes - but the greatest mystery of all is the act of inserting a wafer of plastic into an opening in a gray little machine and collecting a stack of $ and driving away, knowing that it'll be duely recorded and deducted from my account. I've been doing this for years and still can't believe it.

I_Wonder said...

Hello! The weather here dropped to 33 degrees F this morning -- which has nothing to do with banking but does signal an opportunity to stop working and catch up with friends. Hope all has been well.

Coll said...

Strange .. but true. :-). So many banking functions have lost that personal touch.

Sarah Elaine said...

One of our local credit unions has a funny TV commercial about people calling them and not knowing that to do when a human (as opposed to an automated menu) answers the phone.

I've considered switching to them just because of that commercial!

PBS said...

Banks are a mystery. For the closing of my house I had to make TWO mad dashes to my bank on the other side of town. The closing company and the bank both messed up the amount and the paperwork. I hope it's right now...

The very nice man said...

Heehee!! Isn't that just another gorram example of banking gone nuts?!!
Here's another one!
I work in I.T. and fact is:
* We are all computerised
* I can access an account and talk to a person across the world in less than a second
* Paypal will take money from my account in less than a second
* Banks have computers and can see that I have sufficient funds in my account
* Banks can inter-transfer funds in less than a second

So here is my question!
If I want to transfer a misery amount of money from my well-stocked account to my daughter's account which is with the same bank . . . why does this take 3 working days to clear and arrive there even though it leaves my account immediately??

I tell you why! Because these pesky banks keep it for 3 days to make interest for themselves!

Customer satisfaction = 0
Possible valid excuses = 0
Banks that give a gorram damn = 0

End of kvetch (moan)!

pupski said...

I can no longer ring my local bank - all calls have to go through a central number which is - yes you've guessed it - in India. This seems ludicrous to me. Sometimes they have advised me to go and ask in my local branch! The reason I am phoning is I don't have time to go into town to my branch - why can't I just ring them? Don't they have telephones anymore? It's madness!

Bonita said...

Everyone in my bank knows me. You see, my husband writes a risque note on the bottom of a bi-monthly check to me, for my little personal purchases. Sometimes, he'll write, "Never again so wild", or "for last night", or "wow, was that good". You catch my drift...I don't say a word, pass the check, ask for a balance after the deposit, and walk out, stone faced, like I was never so bored in all my life. Yet, they all wave when I come in, hoping I'll come to their window... and never ask me for ID.

Turtle Guy said...

Banks aren't the only ones with odd business practices. I recently opened a Rogers Wireless account. I was overdue for a payment and was told if I made it in person it would be faster than on-line banking. So, I went to a Rogers Wireless store. They didn't process the payment for three weeks! They, of course were on the phone to me, not believing I had actually made the payment.

"You should have made your payment at a Rogers Video store. It gets processed faster."

I said, "HUH?"

"The Video stores are Corporate, the Wireless stores are franchises. Sometimes the store owners don't send payment cheques out for a week or so."

So, remember... pay your wireless bill at the video store and perhaps you'll get a free movie rental with a new cell phone plan at the Wireless store?

Gina said...

And they call this progress!