Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bank Misery, Part II

Having made this decision, I took myself over to the bank one morning. Banks are usually open in the mornings, although the morning may end at different times at different branches, sometimes as late as 2:30PM, unless there is a strike or a holiday. There I asked, as my neighbor recommended, for Sharon, a lovely woman young enough to be my granddaughter if I had started reproducing at 20. She was cheerfully ready to open my account, without any money. Surprise! when I suggested that the reason I wanted the account was to take money out, but I had a feeling they would want me to put some in first, she sympathetically steered me over to the manager, a sweet man young enough to be my younger son, that is, younger than my only son. Let's call him Avi. Avi discussed my situation very pleasantly and I whipped out my American bank checkbook to demonstrate how I wanted to put money into my new account. He recoiled. No, no, he said. We have to charge a percentage of the amount you deposit by check; a wire transfer is much cheaper. Now that you have an account, you have all the numbers you need to give your American bank the instructions. Go and do that, and in the meantime we'll get your new checkbook printed up. Come by to pick it up in a few days. If you don't want to leave yet, and you can go to Hila now to get your Internet and phone banking set up. So I did.

Although disappointed that all I had was a few papers with numbers, I had at least set the wheels in motion, and the security guard in front had very kindly allowed my dog inside, so it seemed like a successful first visit.

The plot began to thicken when I called by American bank, prepared to give them the numbers for the wire transfer. No, no, they said, you can't initiate a wire transfer by phone. Only in person. Not by fax either. Certainly not by email. Only in person. You have to appear in person to set up future wire transfers by fax. And we charge $50 per transfer.

Oh well, it's a good thing I have no deadline for this project.


Mongrel said...

If I do have a question to my bank here in the Netherlands, I make a phonecall, they only do ask for an account number and my adress number and postal code and want to know what and where it should be shoved.
That's all.
No costs.

nominally challenged said...

So the problem, this time, would appear to be the American bank. You should simply do it by check like you intended. But don't explain to the bank manager that his fees are less than the $50 US bank fee, otherwise he might act to rectify that :)

I really can't help but sing the praises of the Yashir Rishon bank - telephone or internet banking only. They bring my credit cards and check books to me by courier. I never have to wait in line while my teller takes a call - in fact, I don't even have "my" teller. Whoever answers the phone is immediately capable of dealing with my queries, or if they are not, they will simply transfer me to the person who is. In the vast jungle that is the Israeli banking system, this bank is a well-kept lawn :)

Mongrel said...

Too about two weeks ago, internet shouldn't get too complicated, am not this good at it like most of you,have moved into internet banking.
Also am moving money to another bank,
allthough my bank gives incredible service they do not do this becasuse we are friends, the other's interest is about 2% higher.
Too the second bank is an equivalent of Nominally Challenged (where did you find this awful long name)Yashir Rishon bank.

nominally challenged said...

@ Mongrel:

where did you find this awful long name

I held a competition once to change it but the response was underwhelming, so I kept it. You can call me NC for short - everyone else does :)

Savtadotty said...

Given my limited Hebrew skills, I find I can accomplish more with Israeli institutions in person than over the phone, assuming the clerk is pleasant. So the idea of having a (friendly) bank clerk just a block away is actually an advantage for me. Otherwise I would gladly use Yashir Rishon.