This last weekend, I made a trip to open an account in a credit union close to my place. Technically, credit union is not a bank, I guess. But since I will only use their chequing/saving/money transfer services, the two places are very closely related in my mind. Btw, the money transfer service charged the least, hence the reason I wanted to do business here.
Anyway, the experience started well enough. The weather was sunny and I was wearing my sunglasses. Upon entering the premise, there was a sign to take off hats & sunglasses for safety precaution. Fair enough. I took off my sunglasses, and tried to put on my regular prescription glasses. While I was in the state of half-blind with my hands full, a woman came to me and asked me what I wanted to do there. I explained and she asked me for my documents right away.
I asked her for a moment to put on my glasses and store my car key etc in my bag first. "Of course," she said with a smile, and then kept shuffling her feet as if to hurry me. I was there about 1 hour before closing time.
She took my ID and asked me for my SIN. "Uhm... but I am only opening a chequing account, why do you need my SIN?" I asked. Even as international student with no SIN, I was able to open an account hassle-free before (obviously not in this 'bank'). It had something to do with their regulation, she answered. "So, if you don't have it, I am sorry but you cannot open an account here."
I was taken aback. Oh well.. I didn't have my card with me, but I had my number. I wondered if that would be enough. "Yes, if you know your number, we don't need to see the actual card," was her reply.
So I asked her to open an account for me. I had a cheque to deposit there. Next, she needed to see the cheque. Upon looking at it, she said that it would take 10 business days to clear. Since there are Canadian + USA Independence Day, it would take about 3 weeks, she said.
"Well, I need to transfer this money to another country," I told her. And quite calmly she said, "Oh, that would take another week to do. You are looking at a month here. If you don't like it, you might want to try other bank."
By this time, I was very very annoyed with this lady. I was starting to wonder if she was trying to get rid of me. I knew this was a ridiculous thought, especially in this economy, but it felt like that to me.
Note that I was still standing in front of the entrance by this time. 15 minutes had passed. I persisted in asking her what would happen in different scenarios, and since she didn't know the answers, she called the manager to handle me.
Ah, the manager, I thought. Surely he/she would be able to point me to the right direction in regards to what to do in my case.
A lady came and asked me again the same questions. And after a string of questions, "I am sorry but I think you should go to another bank," was her conclusion. I was trying to present different scenarios to make this work, since it could save me transfer fee. But by this time, I was starting to think that a higher fee might worth a friendlier service. It seemed like this 'bank' really didn't like me.
The manager was firm and adamant. "There is no way to make this work. Go to CIBC, or TD Bank," was her reply to all my proposed solutions. She stood up in the middle of the conversation and showed me the door. The moment I hit the entrance, she turned back and walked to her office. I was practically thrown out.
I have banked with a lot of banks, in different countries. Some don't have branches (online only), some don't have website (brick-and-mortar only), some have both. But every bank is glad to add another customer to their list. This was the first one that was happy to throw out a potential customer. I am still steaming mad thinking about it.
I usually did my insurance on this branch's insurance department. They are friendly. But I won't support a 'bank' that throws me out. I guess it's time to shop around again...