HSBC still sucks
Today was a bit busy as I had a memorable meeting in the morning before running some errands to prepare for a business trip to Bangkok. I had to get some Thai Baht and so headed to my “favorite” bank, HSBC.
Because my company pays me in Dong and not US Dollars, I have a few restrictions on how I manage my money. In order to withdraw foreign currency, I have to provide my ticket, passport and any relevant visas. I always have this prepared.
On this particular occasion, I wished to pull about 35,000THB which is about $1000USD. I need this for a new digital camera and my yearly check-up at Bumrungrad Hospital. This is really not an earth-shattering amount of cash either, in Dollars or Baht.
But as I submitted my papers, the clerk said, “Oh, this is from your US Dollar account?” I had to say, “No, I have a Dong account.” “Oh,” was her response. And then she picked up the phone to call a manager. You see, if my company still paid me in dollars, I would not have to present any of these papers and I could take whatever amount of Baht I wanted. But because my company pays me in Dong, I have to jump through hoops to manage my money. After a year of being paid this way, I have really grown tired of this nonsense. Whether it is pulling money from my account here or trying to transfer my funds overseas, it is never a smooth process.
After the clerk hung up the phone, she said to me, “Um, I’m sorry to say, but we do not have enough Baht to give you.” You can imagine my face. So I collected myself and said, “Let me make sure of something. This is a bank, correct? And you are telling me that you do not have the equivalent of $1000USD in Thai Baht? That’s absolutely ridiculous. I do not believe you. I suppose that if I had a USD account, this would not be a problem.”
She replied, “You are right. But actually, Thai Baht is not that popular of a currency so we cannot give you what you ask for.”
“What? Thailand is practically your neighbor and people travel back and forth there for business and leisure very frequently. This is absolutely ridiculous. How am I supposed to get money for my trip, when I cannot exchange Dong outside of Vietnam?” I couldn’t wait for her response to this.
“You can go to the gold shops ma’am. They can change the money for you.” She looked at me as thought she was proud of her answer. Yes, very helpful.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. An employee of HSBC, one of the largest banks in the world is telling me that it is better for me to go to a gold shop to exchange money because it is better than the bank? HSBC seriously does not have enough Baht in reserves to give $1000USD worth? Again, this is ridiculous.”
“We are sorry ma’am. I hope you can get your money. Thank you for banking with HSBC.” I rolled my eyes at her and left the branch. Seriously!!!