Citibank Horrors: How hard is everyday banking? David 25 Nov 2005

You should think that a corporation the size of Citibank wouldn’t be leaving much to chance on the everyday tasks. That there would be standard procedures telling the ground staff exactly what to do when someone wanted to open an account, get a credit card, and other bread’n’butter tasks, right?

It sure doesn’t seem that way. I opened my account last Wednesday and I still can’t access my money. That’s just the ultimate insult on a long string of mistakes, misinformation, bad customer service. The ordeal included being…

  • …told that our new account process would start “in a few minutes”, then being forced to wait for 30
  • …promised a money market savings account with a 3.5% yield, then having the account retracted three days later because the “promotion had ended”.
  • …forced to come in a second time to present a permanent address proof, despite bringing it for account creation
  • …setup with an account type totally unsuitable for the permanent amount of money that’ll be present in the account
  • …hassled by another branch for account creation details again because the first branch hadn’t finished the job correctly

So both the checking and savings account types were wrong and switching over was a pain. But all that is of course still secondary concerns to the fact that both accounts are still locked!

Here’s the interaction on that:

  • “Your account won’t be block, just bring in the address proof any time next week”
  • “Yeah, the account is blocked since you didn’t give us an address proof. Should be open tomorrow”
  • “The account is still blocked. It’ll be blocked for 48 hours.”
  • “Yes, I can see that the account is still blocked… please hold (15 minutes back and forth)… sorry sir, but you’ll have to speak with the branch — I can’t open the account”
  • “Yes, this is the manager… let me get your number, so I can call help desk, and then call you back” (haven’t happened yet)
  • “That’s correct sir, it will be another 24 hours to get the block lifted. There’s nothing I can do.”

So exactly how hard is everyday banking? If account creation is such a rocket surgery job perhaps they need to hire some rocket surgeons for it.