Oh, banks.

I was just reading Growth in Value’s post on his troubles with RBC. I also recently had a not so great experience (although unrelated to the kind of trouble GIV is having) at an RBC branch. And I don’t meant to pick on RBC, what happened to me could happen at any bank, really.

Basically, you should always always always check and double check any kind of transaction that someone does for you, because although you’d think they know what they’re doing working at a bank and all, they don’t necessarily.

In my case, I was exchanging some foreign currency where an amount equivalent in Canadian dollars in that currency has a whole bunch more trailing zeros (I hope that makes sense, for example 100,000 Indonesian Rupiahs may sound like a lot but it’s really only about $10 CAD). Anyway, the teller was getting really really confused by all these extra zeros, and kept dropping one in the amount she thought we were dealing with. And a dropped zero is a big deal if it means the difference between a thousand and a hundred. I kept telling her she had the wrong amount, but she just couldn’t get it. She called over no less than two other tellers who were also very confused and apparently couldn’t do basic math with tens and hundreds of thousands.  Finally she went to see a manager or something and they got it sorted out. But really, if I hadn’t kept insisting that she had the amount wrong, she probably would have changed the lesser amount for me and sent me on my way.

I also recently heard from someone I know that a few years ago when they were moving money from one mutual fund to another, the teller at the bank made a mistake and made the transfer unit for unit, even though the fund they were moving the money out of had a higher unit price than the one they were moving to. Unfortunately this person was not paying attention and it wasn’t until a year or so later when reviewing their statements that they realized there had been a mistake and I guess it was too late to do anything about it and they were out a good chunk of money.

So it’s pretty important to be on top of things. If you go in to the bank to make a transaction, try to do a calculation before hand of what you’re expecting the result of the transaction to be, so that you’re in a better position to catch a mistake if it happens. And if not, then check the paper work right away to make sure it was done correctly.


3 Responses to “Oh, banks.”

  1. 1 Wooly Woman November 21, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Oh my that is terrible! I agree you really have to watch what the bank is doing, which sometimes is difficult if it is something new going on. I have had really bad experiences with CIBC and switched most of my accounts over to a credit union, which I am much happier with. I think all of the big banks have their really bad moments- probably because they are so big and really not accountable or caring to their customers anymore.

  2. 2 mariam November 21, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    I don’t think it has to do with the size of the operation.

    If we do business with a small organization, sometimes the comments are, well, what do you expect, it’s a rinky dink operation. If you go to a big organization, then it’s well, they don’t have the man power.

    I just think that humans often make mistakes – so yeah, better double check.

  3. 3 FourPillars November 21, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    If you keep in touch with your friend who had the MF error – they should try to get it corrected. There isn’t really any reason the bank can’t fix it, even if it happened several years ago.


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