Thursday, May 21, 2009

Canadian Banks

Before yet another example of popular chauvinism distracts me, I want to write about the ever-painful experience of dealing with a Canadian bank (National bank of Canada, in this case).

An ATM swallowed my debit card, which forced me to get a new one. As a result, my online banking ws blocked and I came to my local branch to reestablish online banking. The following dialogue ensued:

Me: I would like to reestablish online banking, please.

Teller: No.

Me: Yes, please.

Teller: Why do you need online banking?

Me: I use it to pay bills online.

Teller (looking at me like I told her that I use it to travel to the Moon): Pay bills? Which bills?

Me: My bills.

Teller (with profound condescension): You don't need online banking for that. You can pay them through the ATM.

Me: I live in the US for the most part, so I really need online banking. I have been using it for the past 8 years and I would like to keep using it.

Teller: Why do you live in the US?

Me: For work. Could I get online banking please?

Teller: It's blocked.

Me: I know, I would like to have it unblocked.

Teller (acting like she heard this request from me for the first time): Why?

This went on for a while longer. Another teller became involved and put me through the same round of interrogation. In the process, tellers 1 and 2 kept exchanging mocking glances and rolling their eyes in my direction. The discussion continued until I remembered my agressive Soviet roots annd demanded access to MY money which is in MY account.

I have to add that my account with this bank is not and never was in default. I never owed them a dime. I've been a loyal customer for a long time and there is always at least some money in my account. In the US, the bank tellers fall over themselves to greet me and be as helpful as possible. But then again, there is no banking monopoly in the US and people can switch their bank as often as they want.


Anonymous said...

Canadian banks are indeed a source of a culture shock for anybody moving from the States. Imagine my indignation when I learned that they do not pay me some (albeit puny) interest on my checking account, and on top of that they actually take a monthly fee for me bringing my money to them...

Clarissa said...

I know! They act like they are bringing money to me and not vice versa.

Anonymous said...

An article just came out in The Economist extolling Canadian banks: