Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Banking lesson

I visited the bank yesterday and discovered I did not have the correct bank card with me to withdraw money from the automatic cajero. No problem. I went inside located a withdrawal slip, stood in line, presented the slip to the teller and expected to be handed 5,000 pesos. Nope. He stamped the slip, made a flourish of signing it and then motioned me towards the client assistants to one side of the office.

This step entails another line of course. Nevermind. Eventually I was seated in front of a bank officer, who promptly handed me another form to fill out. This one was longer and more complicated. I spent about 5 minutes or more doing my paper chores and handed the form over. Sorry, I signed it in the place where the bank official is supposed to sign. Do it again.

On the form there is a place to enter your passport number. I don't walk around with my passport because of the dire consequences of losing the thing. I do keep a high quality color copy of my passport and visa with me. When I was asked for my passport I handed over my color copy, wondering what would happen. I think because this particular bank official has dealt with me before she was amenable to accepting a color copy. After much computer entry time and examination of forms and documents I was finally cleared to go back to the teller line. At this point I had the presence of mind to ask the official if all this paperwork had something to do with the amount of the withdrawdral. Bingo -- it seems 5,000 is some kind of demarcation. I have to check this more thoroughly, but next time I will only ask for 4,999 and see what transpires.

At the teller window my simple withdrawal request meant another flurry of paperwork, computer entry, stamps, and form signing. Whew, all I wanted to do was pay my phone and electric bill and buy some groceries. The entire process I just described probably took at least 1/2 hour or more.