Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Banks are service companies and biggest retailers

I have moved to Montenegro on January 15, 2007.

As an expat one of the first things you do is to have an account in a bank, and you generally go to an international bank assuming that you get good service and can do international transactions easily. So I have chosen the bank with this big name, and following is the story.

4th week of January I go to the bank and ask them to have an account through which I can have a debit card to use the ATMs and make international transfers. But the answer was, no, it is ILLEGAL here to have debit cards for foreigners??? Illegal????? Yes because some foreigners had misused the system, so NO. Well then it is not illegal, it is a bank policy, YES. OK then forget about my account, but my secretary told this guy that I was the manager of so and so company etc., and he said he would ask to his boss. I wonder what would have happened if I asked for a CREDIT CARD, I do not even want to think of it. But the boss was not available so he said he would call us later in the day.

I got a call a week later and was informed that I could get a card. Wowwww what an honor I could get a card but I had to go to the bank again to have another account. OK I go. I will get my card soon they say, today February 22nd and still no card. OK I wait.

I need to transfer some money to abroad, so I go to the bank again with my secretary (by the way no body speaks English in the branch) I deposit the amount (waiting in the line for about 15 minutes), I tell them I need to make a transfer, NO! Why? I need another account??? “Give my money back and call the manager”, is my response. The lady in the counter had almost throw the money to my face, a very bitter face and tone, I did not understand what she was saying but I was sure that she wasn’t pleased.

A young lady comes claiming that she is the boss, I try to explain the situation, she checks my account, YES I have the necessary second account that I can make the transfer, OK let’s do it. No you have to come at 12:45 (it was 11:50), why? “Because the person in charge is in vacation”. So now I will go there again because I have to make this transfer.

This is how I am treated in the world where everybody is looking for customers, and who is making the money? Me? No, the bank. This was a much unexpected situation under such a big international name.
13:15 – I was in the bank at 12:45 and mission of transferring money has been accomplished. Poor lady, probably she never saw a customer like me and apologizing all the time and I tried to explain her that I wasn’t against her and it wasn’t personal, it was just the SYSTEM.”

And you think that the story ended here, no way.

My salary was deposited to the bank and in order to get the money I had to open a 3rd account. The reason is not clear to me, but tired of all this, I did. I also had my debit card. How lucky I am.

When they asked 35 Euros for the debit card I was DONE.

I just left every document they gave me, account cards, debit card and the rest and asked my money back.

Banks are service companies, they must make the life of the customer easy, in many cases service is more important then the cost.

People working in the front line, cashiers, tellers are the most important people since they have the first hand contact with the customer, they must be trained very good and they must represent the vision of their company. These are the people that are representing and labeling the company.

I will not go to this bank again and I will not suggest it to anyone.

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