Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Trini Tuesday-lame excuse for such to follow

I was at a loss as to what to post about today. My incident with the bank this weekend provided a pathetic excuse for blog fodder....Banking in Trinidad.

When we moved there we of course needed to set up a bank account. We asked around and several folks we knew did their banking at Royal Bank and seemed generally satisfied. So off we went. We sat down with the lady in New Accounts and gave her all the necessary information. After all the forms and whatnot she came back with passbooks and then began to explain the checking account procedures.

At that time in Trinidad there were 2 kinds of checking accounts, secured and non-secured. The secured ones demonstrated you had a good history with a bank and everyone would accept checks from such an account. We were informed we were not eligible for such an account since we had no banking history in Trinidad. Ok, how long for the secured account? Six months. Ok, so for six months we used the non-secured account, never bounce a check and then we can get the secured account. I guess we can handle that.

So we go off with our happy little non-secured checking account and try to get utilities set up. Hhhhmmm, none of the utility companies will accept non-secured checks, too risky. Uuum, ok. Back to the bank to get cash to drive around to the utility offices to set up service.

Now we need to get some groceries. We've been to the fresh market and understandably that is cash only. We've gone on Saturdays to the plucking and gutting places so we could pick out a chicken for Sunday dinner....yeah, that one over there pecking at the food, we'll take her...half hour later she's plucked, gutted, and bagged up. Again, that's a cash only operation, no biggie. But we go to the Hi Lo supermarket for the non-perishables and such. Guess what? They don't take non-secured checks. Neither do the drug stores if you need medicine. Neither do mechanics if you need your car fixed. Basically, NO ONE on the island takes these checks. The bank may as well have issued us Monopoly money.

I'm not entirely sure how a person is suposed to establish banking history when no business will accept these lovely non-secured checks but we don't seem to have much choice. so for six months we go to withdraw cash before we have to do any transactions. No ATM cards were available to us either, that was all part of the whole secured account thing. Plus they were not quite as prevalent.

So we put up with this for 6 months then trot back to th bank and ask for a secured account. No, I'm sorry. You can't have one. You haven't been using the checks. Yes, that would be because people regard them as unacceptable. Well, I'm sorry, you'll have to go a few more months before we can authorize a secured account. We are less than thrilled by this.

Some days later we were chatting with a neighbor who worked at Scotia Bank. She said if we came to her bank she'd personally see to it that we were immediately given a secured account. We did and she did. It's who ya know, baby.

Happy Trini Tuesday.

16 comments:

Mani said...

Oh loss...well if that is not classic Trini run aroound, I'm not sure what is. Banks especially love to do that kind of thing to people.

I hate Royal Bank for that reason. When I started living in Trinidad they tried to get me to go through a whole process to start using my account again. I decided to go to First Citizens and I'm much happier there.

Sheri said...

wow - had no idea. That secured/unsecured thing would never fly here.

Jodes said...

another great post, you keep me coming back every week and sometimes every day. have a good one.

steve said...

One again just goes to show how good we have got it here in this counrty. Some days it is easy to forget that.

barefoot_mistress said...

LOL Lime, reminds me of banks in India where it is forbidden to staple money!
So what do they do when you want to exchange some US Travelers Checks for Indian Rupees?
They hand you a huge stack of 100 rupee notes with a 1 1/2" inch staple jammed through it!
Now, every bill is going to have two torn jagged rusted holes through them, and some might even have gotten torn while wrestling them out of the staple.
Ok, then every time you attempt to spend one of these holey notes you will get a lecture from the store owner for stapling the notes and the rusty holes, etc, and how this is very bad, very very bad!
Oh how I love India!

Tommy said...

LMAO! That is truly the meaning of "Catch 22." Good one Lime. Have a great day hun.
TG

ttfootball said...

HAHAHA Well look how I jes learn someting about Trinidad LOL, not very surprising but still new to me. Never had a checking account, still don't. Savings account with my ATM card, works like a "checkcard", international too, from Royal hahaha. How did you stand going to the bank so often?! damn!

Seamus said...

You just couldn't win, could you? TG you knew someone...and they were willing to help! :)

lecram sinun said...

I'm thinking that Joseph Heller who wrote Catch-22 may have lived in Trinidad for a bit.

Moosekahl said...

Have I ever mentioned I hate money? I would prefer we just went without it. Anyway...

Nancy Drew said...

What's "money"?

Is it like Visa?

Logophile said...

oooooh the joys of international banking, such fun.

snavy said...

I cannot even remember a time where I actually went to the bank during banking hours to withdraw money.

I heart my debit card.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. In Brazil they'll open a bank account for you with credit cards and cheques, if you have a positive or even a non-existant credit history. But the minute a cheque bounces your name is black-listed and you have to pay heap big money to clear your name.

This happened to me in the worst way when a cheque bounced because of a disparity between the day I should've got pid and the day i actually did. This set of a domino effect which kept me in the bad-credit ratings for almost a year!

Anonymous said...

Argh, banks...I think I was one of the first persons in Hong Kong to set up an internet banking account, that's how much I hate to physically go to a bank. Queuing, filling out forms...not the right forms, queuing again...best to be avoided. And don't get me started on telephone banking...hell is an electronic voice listing eight options of which not one fits your problem.

KFarmer said...

You're right- it's not what you know, it's who. I guess that's world wide. I hate banks and won't go in one unless I have too. Maybe I've watched too much TV or Cops but I just know when I walk through the door a hold-up man will put a gun behind my ear. Crazy huh? I'm a drive through kind of gal :)