January 12, 2001
Here it is only the middle of January
and I'm breaking one of my New Years resolutions already.
I told myself I'd go easy on the banks
this year. Not because they've been particularly good. Far from
it. I just don't want to be one of those people who goes on whining
about the same thing over and over again.
But darn it, they just seem to go out
of their way to be unloveable. And with $12 billion in revenue
last year, my bank proves that money can't buy you love.
First of all, I just got a notice that
my bank is closing and my account is moving again. This is the
third time my branch has closed. That means new cheques, account
numbers and tellers. It's enough to give a guy a complex. I'm
starting to feel like the kid in the motorhome whose house ran
away from him.
It also means I have to get to know a
new group of tellers so they don't give me a tough time whenever
I need to cash a ten dollar cheque. I used to have one manager
who I could call and move money around or ask about the state
of my vast financial empire. She even had a real office where
I could drop in and say hi.
She's gone and now it takes three people
to look after my account, which means no one ever knows anything.
I'm not even sure where they are, since all I have is a phone
number. Probably outsourced to a prison call center in Alabama.
Last week I went to the business teller
and said I needed a money order. He asked me if I had a business
account. I said I had both my business and personal accounts
"I'm sorry, we don't do money orders
here." He replied.
"Then why did you need to know if
I had a business account if you don't do them here anyways?"
The dazzling logic was lost on him. He told me to go to the guy
who looks after the safety deposit boxes in the vault.
Of course - and the nightwatchman must
be in charge of the RRSPs.
So off I went to the vault guy, who said
he did money orders, except of course the computer was down and
a simple transaction my giving them real money in exchange for
a piece of paper was out of the question. Real money is quickly
becoming an annoyance.
I've also been trying to close a bank
account for a deceased relative for four months now. It's at
that bank run by a grocery store. All the proper papers have
been signed, sealed and sent to them. I called to ask what the
hold up was. After half an hour on hold, the answer was no one
knew, but they would put a trace on it and I should call back
in three days.
I gave it four to be on the safe side
(four and a half if you counted the time I again spent on hold).
It actually ended up taking three weeks, which makes you wonder
whether those expiration dates on their milk mean anything.
"You'll be happy to know the trace
has been completed," she said.
"So where's the money?"
"It doesn't say," she reported.
"But the trace was successful," she said full of pride
at her bank's efficiency. I still haven't seen a nickel of it.
So I wish the banks the best of luck
in 2001. I'll be keeping my money in a jar on my dresser, where
I know the teller and can always get at it.