Third World Banks

Our word for the day is Bureaucracy.

I receive an HSBC check drawn from its New York branch. I go to BPI in SM Megamall to deposit it to my account. Bank teller tells me it’s impossible. Calmly, I walk away.

I go to HSBC Discovery Suites branch to encash it. Bank teller tells me it’s impossible. Naturally, I asked why; the check is drawn from THEIR bank. Bank teller tells me their computers don’t have an access/connection to the New York branch. Apparently, we really are third world like that. Bank teller suggests I deposit it to wherever I have an account with. I tell him about the BPI incident. He smiles and tells me it’s all he can do to help — to smile that is and offer no other solution. I calmly walk away.

I proceed to BPI in Podium, fill out the forms and walk to the teller. Teller stares at the check for a good one minute, opens mouth, stares at it again, and finally, tells me what I wanted was impossible. “I called your customer service center; the agent told me what I’m asking you to do is very possible,” I politely tell her.

Of course, I made no such call and had no such conversation. Teller asks for advice from a colleague. I stare at them as they huddle.

Teller returns to me and says I must have a dollar account. I refuse to accept her answer, still insisting on the phantom call I made. Teller leaves her counter and asks a senior colleague for advice. Senior colleague leaves her desk and approaches the bank manager. Bank manager says it’s OK — they can process the check.

This is a major attitude problem, particularly among those in the government.
They say “No, it can’t be done,” out of:

    a. Ignorance
    b. Laziness

without even verifying the rules; or by simply IGNORING the rules.

So I proceed to the manager. Manager first throws a sales pitch: “If you open a dollar account with us, the clearing period is much shorter, about 15 days.”

“No.”

Manager leaves for senior colleague to take over.

I sign a form and hand over the check.

“This will take as much as 45 days before it gets deposited to your account,” she tells me.

Our word for the day is Bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is when BPI would take it 30 more days to convert a currency — which money changers can do in minutes, by the way — because its client doesn’t have a US Dollar account.

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