Sunday, March 11, 2007

Time to switch banks

I might be spoiled from the quality and modern convenience of Canada's banks. Perhaps, having worked at a bank for a year while living in Canada, I know how a well-run one should operate.
My wife on the other hand might just be unlucky in choosing the absolute worst bank in Morocco.
At her bank, supposedly there is internet banking. Unlike Canada, here you pay a monthly fee and have the right to check your account activity online, but not much else - no paying bills, no transferring to a friend's account. In fact, when Siham ordered the internet banking, it never worked, but she got charged anyway - so perhaps it only works in theory. Again, having the ability to check your balance online, to me, is not considered internet banking.

In Canada, they encourage you to use phone and internet for pretty much everything, from ordering cheques, changing addresses, transferring money, paying bills, etc - it saves time, cuts down on staff costs, etc. Here, if you want anything done, you go directly to the bank, or other insitution.
For instance, to pay the phone bill I go to the local telecom payment outlet, take a number, wait about fifteen minutes, and pay the bill.
Same thing for the utilities.

There are bank machines, but at Siham's bank, they dole out only a thousand dirhams at a time. Around US$110. They don't do much else - no deposits, no paying bills, no transferring between accounts, etc.
At Siham's Moroccan bank, there is no orderly line where you wait so the person in front of you can have some privacy. Instead, there is a jumble of people crowded around the counter like at a busy McDonalds.

This Friday Siham and I were in a hurry to get to the Spanish Embassy and apply for her visa. We got an early start, went to the photo developer for passport photos, and Siham headed for a quick withdrawal of Euros and obtain some bank papers to add to her visa application. It took an hour and a half. The bank also hadn't changed Siham's status from single to married, despite the fact that Siham asked them to almost two years ago.
This time, they couldn't do it. Their systems were down - which is not the first time we'd asked for something and their systems were down.

I don't remember a single time in my history of working at the bank in Canada where the system went down. Systems just don't go down. If I had thousands, or even millions of dollars invested somewhere, it would bother the hell out of me if a system went down, unless it was some scheduled maintenance, in which case it's likely to be either quick, or during non-busy hours.

Siham once went into her bank to make a transfer from her chequing account to her savings. The teller didn't want to do it. Plain and simple, he was just too lazy to make the transfer. Instead, he made the excuse that she needed her bank book. She'd done it many times before without the book. Irate, she was about to close her account, but was talked out of it by the manager.
I think its time we switched banks. This time though, we should research and ask others which bank they reccomend, as well as checking out the local ones. We should then open an account, transfer all the money, switch her work deposits, and leave her crap account with next to nothing in it, but open for a few months just in case there is some contigency we forgot about.

1 comment:

Kyna said...

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