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.