An actual conversation I had in Bank of Ireland last week

To preface: I recently made the switch – from Bank of Ireland to KBC, which showed itself for the terrible decision it was when I arrived in KBC’s offices one day, €500 in hand, to be told, “this is a cashless bank – but you can transfer that from another bank account”. So, a few short months later, tail between my legs, I decided to go back to Bank of Ireland. But things aren’t always as easy as they seem – and, it would seem, BOI was determined to punish me for my disloyalty.

1.30pm, Bank of Ireland, College Green

Me: Hi there, I’d like to enquire about opening a current account please. 

Gentleman behind the counter (mid-30s, pleasant enough although unsmiling): Do you have an appointment? 

Me: Um, no. [I hadn’t needed one with KBC.]

Him: Do you live in the area?

Me: I live just off O’Connell St.

Him: Well then you have to open it in Dublin 1 – in the O’Connell St branch. You can go up to them now but you’ll probably have to make an appointment. 

Me: Oh. Okay. [Baffled: in the past, I had opened bank accounts in city centre branches of AIB and Bank of Ireland with a Co Kildare address.]

1.45pm, Bank of Ireland, O’Connell St

[I stand at the customer service area for about five minutes until a woman, mid-50s, smiling but cool, approaches.]

Her: Can I help you?

Me: I’d like to open a current account. 

Her: What do you want a current account for?

Me [neither sure of the question nor of the correct answer]: Um, for money? For … to have … to put my wages in? 

Her: So you have a job? 

Me: I’m a freelance journalist. 

Her: So who do you work for? Independent newspapers?

Me: Um, no. I work for myself.

Her: So you want to open a business account. [She turns and begins to walk towards what I assume is the forms area.]

Me: No, I want to open a current account. 

Her: Well, you have to either live or work in the area.

Me: I live in the area.

Her: Do you have proof? 

[At this stage I am beyond baffled by the curt nature of this woman’s questioning and the fact that she seems to think I would lie about living in Dublin 1, simply in order to open a bank account with Bank of Ireland on O’Connell St.]

Me: Yes, I brought a bank statement. 

Her: Well, you also need photo ID if you want to open a bank account. 

Me: I have my passport [handing it to her].

Her: Just give me a minute.

[Three minutes pass. She returns, bank statements and passport in hand.]

Well, you’ll have to make an appointment to see someone about opening that account. 

Me: That’s fine, I’ll go to TSB.

Her: Oh. Well … if you want.

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    • Eibhlin
    • November 14, 2014

    Oh God…THANK YOU for writing this. I tried to open a savings account in BOI in Sutton two weeks ago. In I went armed with a utility bill, photo id and cash and I was was met with ‘Do you have an appointment?’ and general incredulity at my insanity at trying such a maverick act. I mentioned my current account was with BOI. This was met with disdain because, you know, I didn’t have an appointment. I too went to PTSB. Maybe BOI have so much money in their giant safe that they just can’t take anymore?

    • Sandra
    • November 15, 2014

    That’s insane! I’ve heard shocking things from BOI re mortgages and lack of push! I needed to open an extra account this week so rang PTSB who I’ve my mortgage with via a broker but nothing else and I’m able to open an account by filling out forms the guy is sending me and photocopies of ID and utility bills etc I don’t have to even go into them! All the banks going cashless and non personal and then u have to make a face to face appointment to open a flipping account! It’s very laughable!!

  1. So I guess the days of going in with a student card and coming out with a 600 euro overdraft, no questions asked, are gone.

    • Frances Mallon
    • November 15, 2014

    Had the same thing with PTSB the other day. The appointment thing I mean. I just ignored and went straight up to customer service Money laundering is such a huge problem these days and banks are held responsible and have to alert authorities if they are suspicious about new accounts. They just like the straight forward wage, going in to the a/c every month. Bear with it, stand your ground and get that a/c opened. Go in full battle gear, like Bodicea and give that grumpy woman a run for her money. Check out the banks that do free banking as well before you do it. Good luck.

    • Hazel kavanagh
    • March 29, 2016

    I went into our lovely recently renovated boi to a,transfer money b, close an account and c, change my name on one account. Total bedlam the one lady standing there didn’t know what to do or where to direct me cause there is only 1 teller dealing with cash and everything else was a machine only.
    With such unusual requested I was brought into an office where a lovely guy sorted it in no time but seriously they need more humans less machines

    • Mary
    • March 29, 2016

    I had to laugh reading this, I don’t know anyone who has had a good banking experience with BOI. I was left without access to my BOI accounts for 6 weeks recently because there was an issue with “something” when I tried to change the name on my accounts to my married name.

    They made such a balls of my sister mortgage, that she almost ended up giving birth in one of their branches because she refused to leave until the problem was solved! The problem was only spotted when my sisters solicitor highlighted the issue and my sister and her husband refused to leave the bank, even when they had closed, until the Manger rectified the issue (my sisters waters broke that night – 3 weeks early – to this day, she maintains it was due to stress from BOI)

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