We opened a business outlet in this very small town about 170km away. The only bank available in this small town is Land Bank of the Philippines, a government bank. I hate government banks. So inefficient and no customer service at all!
But what can we do? No choice.
Most commercial banks would allow us to bring home the documents needed to open a savings account and then return the filled up documents back to them. But this bank said they could not let the documents out of their premises. We had to go to their branch 170km away or we could visit the nearest Landbank branch from me and then they would facilitate everything inter branch.
And so today, I visited a branch near our home that I knew would not be busy. I approach their new account section and this lady quite sternly replied that she had never heard of such a thing that I was saying. Stern lady said I had to personally go to the branch where I want to open an account. It pays to be persistent though because after repeating myself for the third time, the lady compromised by saying that she could call the manager of the far-away branch and see what they could do. Although some commercial banks now transact business regardless of which branch you keep your deposits, many in this country are still territorial. If you open your account in a certain city, encashment of checks or deposits or withdrawals in another city/town will incur a fee or worse – not allowed at all.
Anyway, I wait while the stern lady calls the far-away branch. Then she brings the phone over to me since the manager of the far-away branch wanted to talk to me. After a short interview and clearing of some details, they compromise by allowing me to use this local branch’s documents but then I had to meet with the manager who luckily would be visiting our city tomorrow.
And so I fill up the documents. In the space of present address, I write my address. In the space for permanent address, I write same as above. As well as with the business address. But no, another lady who was very meticulous told me I had to write down the address again and that Same as Above would not be acceptable. Sigh. So I write the address 3x. The zip code, the country 3x. And I had to sign all erasures.
Finally I thought we were all done. Then she pushes the stamp pad to me and tells me I need to put my thumb marks. I asked her; I thought thumb marks were only for those who could not sign their name? No she says, it is required.
When I relayed this thumbprint requirement to Pin (who has worked in a commercial bank for the past 26years), she expressed surprise. She said it is the first time she has heard that a thumb print was required together with signatures.
Anyway, I was willing the meticulous automaton look-alike lady to hurry up with her perusal. Every moment she opened her mouth, I cringed and had to control myself from making an impertinent remark. No point in antagonizing them. It is a government bank after all. They probably don’t care if I take my business elsewhere.
Finally finally, we were out the door. Sheesh, like pulling teeth – I told O. If there were a phone survey to ask how the service was, I’d give them the worst score.
Sigh, but you never win with the government.