Sunday, August 31, 2008

The bank

We had a busy Saturday, starting with the inefficient bank. We went to open an account one of our first days here, accompanied by our landlord to provide the introduction, and filled out several forms, gave copies of relevant documents, and were given a receipt. It said that we should receive our "welcome package" within 10 days. Since we hadn't received anything, we called the customer complaint number (wow!) as well as went to the bank to find out what the problem was. The customer service folks said there seemed to be a problem with our documentation. We had provided a copy of our lease, copies of our passports, and copies of our PIO and OCI cards. These cards -- for Persons of Indian Origin (oddly enough, me) and Overseas Citizen of India -- allow for visa free travel to India, and supposedly confer the equivalent rights to economic, financial, and a few other matters to members of the Indian disaspora to make it easier to come, invest, and live in India (they still don't allow for military service, voting, running for office, and a few other things like that). However, it doesn't appear that they help much on the banking front. Everyone we ran into looked at these papers as if they were worthless, sort of like conterfeit money. They wouldn't let us open a normal rupee account, saying we needed something else. But we thought those problems had been settled. Apparently not. On Monday we are supposed to hear back from the customer service/complaints folks as well as the relationship manager. We'll see what it is, but it is a pain not to have an Indian bank account yet.

Saturday coincided with the end of the month, which might help account for these long lines at the ATMs, seen below. The bank itself was also packed wall to wall with people.

As opposed to Latin America, however, there were no policemen nearby with big guns.

Still, however, hard to reconcile the inefficiency of these financial services with a major services exporter.

No comments: