Not so long ago we had a strange experience at the bank. I was called in for a chat with my banker, it was very nice. She suggested my husband and I meet with the in-house tax-specialist. Sure, why not, it is always good to know how you can optimise your taxes, who wouldn’t want that? Especially if you don’t know the existing local possibilities. My adviser did mention my husband should be present this time. I was all up for it: I might be the Chief Financial Officer at home but I like my team members to be informed at all times!
In we went on a Saturday morning. How little did we know we were going for one of our strangest ride so far. Bermuda triangle kind of weird! Here we were: my husband, the tax specialist and myself. For an hour the lady talked to my husband without ever looking at me. My husband felt so uncomfortable he ended up not facing her anymore and only speaking to me (remember, I am the Family CFO!). I would then ask her questions and she would answer my husband. How strange is that?
Going home we could not believe what had just happened. A few days later I received an automatic email requesting a feedback. I usually don’t take the time to do so (I know, I should) but this time I told them how archaic this behaviour was, letting them know ‘inappropriate’ would have been the mildest way of describing it.
I didn’t hear anything back from them. A month later, as we had to go back for our second meeting to pursue our conversation with the same lady, we were curious to see how she would handle our feedback. I think this was even more awkward than the “let me ignore you” phase. She spent the first ten minutes apologising, going a tad overboard praising the value of “stay at home” mothers. We did however appreciate her apology. Funnily enough, she almost only looked at me during that second meeting!
I am not at all saying this is representative of all banks in France, of course, I think I would have heard of it if it were the case. But with that specific bank (and I am not only talking about our agency, we also had issues with the head office) it is not the first time we feel we have gone back at least a hundred years.
My immediate thinking was to seek a new bank, maybe the grass would be greener somewhere else. I visited a few others but decided not to leave ours as the service seemed to be of the same quality in the different agencies I visited in my city. Oh well, such is life and let’s face it, France is not exactly renowned for the progressive approach of her banking system (and that, I heard stories about)! I already told you about my newly acquired competency: expert in writing checks!
If you are looking for advice on how to open a bank account in France, here is a link describing 5 key tips.
How are banks where you live?