Monday, 7th April 2003
Banks excel in customer uncare. Time and time again I come to the same conclusion.


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I require a few simple things from a bank:

  1. Bank costs are a farce.
    It is nonsense to pay money in order to deposit money.
  2. It must be easy to sort out bank matters.
  3. I would like to visit a branch to take care of more complex matters, as and when it suits me.
  4. It would be nice if the counters are manned by experienced personnel.
    I do not like to waste time to return by appointment only.
My requirements have recently expanded a little, in order to offer a new service:

Fortis (No branches in the neighbourhood anymore)

I attempted to become a business customer of Fortis in 1997 already. It remained an attempt - I have yet to get some answers on a number of questions I asked way back then.

Another woeful experience that springs to mind was when I transferred money from Malaysia. I settled all transfer fees in Malaysia, but Fortis happily charged me again. My attempt to extract an explanation from the Fortis agency in Lekkenburg was not very successful. According to the lady that served me, I had to sort it out with the sender. The fact that the sender was standing right in front of her, with the Malaysian transfer instruction in his hand was obviously more than she could handle.

In order to be of even better service to me, the Fortis agency in Lekkenburg has since moved, a Fortis euphemism for closed down. Customers in Gouda are advised to visit another branch in the centre of town. And even that branch has now been moved. At the moment there is only Fortis branch left in Gouda, situated right at the other side of town. To contemplate using Fortis for any new services is thus completely out of the question.

The Postbank (Ronsseweg, Gouda)

I have always managed to do my business at the PostBank in a surprisingly short time. Drop by at the closest post office, end of story. I am quite satisfied with the PostBank. Tel Postbank zakelijk: 058 295 8018 Full of hope I speed to the post office. The girl behind the counter is lovely, but she does not know anything about business accounts. I have to be content with the telephone number of the Girotel helpdesk and dejectedly I have to turn around and go.

The Rabobank (Lekkenburg, Gouda)

Fine, thus to the Rabobank, established by and for entrepreneurs. Surely they will know how to handle this sort of thing.

But alas. The Rabobank does their best to keep customers outside. He who wants to enter will do so by ringing a bell first and then struggling through double doors to gain entry.

Inside I find two giggling girls, as if they have nothing better to do than peeve off the customers. No, they don't really know anything about bank matters, the girls inform me before I even have the chance to ask my question. Would I like to make an appointment with an expert? No, sigh, don't bother, let me make my weary way through the double doors to continue my quest for a bank with a full-time head for business.

ABN-Amro (Lekkenburg, Gouda)

ABN-Amro is no firm favourite of mine. It is a bureaucratic monstrosity where I have run into "Procedures" time and time again.

They recently once again distinguished themselves by sending me a letter, requesting me to close my only remaining account with them. Ehm well, no, not quite, seeing that I am expecting a tax refund to be paid into the account in question still.

But fine, preconceived ideas aside, perhaps their business services are streets ahead.

A young lady in a tight-fitting but boring grey suit looks me over from top to toe before offering me a chair. She looks at me as if I have to wear a tie to bring my money here. It does not seem to register that it is an entrepreneur standing in front of her, a potential customer, someone that pays your salary, young lady!

I refuse the coffee. I explain to her that I already have a business transmission account and am now looking for alternatives with an Internet possibility. She nods as if she understands completely and proceeds to ask an amazing question:

Since when have you been registered with the Chamber of Commerce?

  • Pardon me? You are asking me this why? Does the date have an influence on the rates?
  • I came here for some information, not to be cross-examined.
  • Is this some kind of entrance exam?
  • Sigh, is this a bureaucratic procedure approaching?!
  • I suppress the urge to ask her how long she has had her own business. Oh, so you are only an employee yourself?...
  • Or should I ask her how old she is and then proceed to push her aside by asking for someone with more relevant experience?
Sigh, I behave myself and mumble a short answer: Since 1997.

Oh, then you are what we term an established businessman, she says surprised. Yes, as should have been evident from my business transmission account, I think by myself. My greying hair should have been a clue as well, but I keep my trap shut.

Somewhat irritated I put my question to her a second time. Ok, now she understands it completely. Triumphantly she waves a folder in front of my face. I see everything, everything but Internet banking. So I return the folder to her. In which she also proceeds not to find anything, after which she exclaims brightly Oh true, there is nothing in there about that!. I am about to lose hope.

Bravely I try a third time. Once again she completely understands. And now she starts explaining about a box I have to carry with me everywhere.

Hmm, I think not. I am most definitely not going to drag a ABN/Amro box with me everywhere because I might get some enquiries about payments. I refuse to change my footloose and fancy-free lifestyle. I could not care less about the procedures of a bank employee. No, she insists, the box is mandatory and every bank will tell me so.

But I know better.

Whichever way, I do not trust her advice. The conversation has lasted more than long enough. I know enough and leave the ABN/Amro branch.

I will have nothing to do with a bank that operates under false pretences. I will close my ABN/Amro private account as soon as I can.

The Postbank, Girotel helpdesk (phone +31 58 295 8018)

Phone Postbank business accounts: +31-58 295 8018 My bank search results is disappointing. The only real result is the telephone number of the Girotel helpdesk: phone +31 58 295 8018. In desperation I decide to phone. And lo and behold, my confidence in the Postbank is restored. On the other side of the line is someone
  1. He directs me to
  2. Assures me that I will be able to do my banking through the Internet everywhere.
  3. He assures me that I need no box to do this.
    With a feeling of disdain I think back to the misinformation of the grey ABN/Amro suit.
  4. The cost free package is crystal clear.
SUMit remains a Postbank customer!

Till next nut,