Clueless bank


I have an account at Imperial Capital Bank. I have it mostly because their interest rate on their checking account is quite good (1.92%, for now ...). Actually, that's the only reason I have an account there.

Anyway, I have a check for some GBP laying around, so I called them to find out what they'd charge and which exchange rate they'd use and so on.

Ask: "Have British Pound check. Need deposit."
CSR: "Uh. Hold on."
[long wait]
CSR: (slightly demeaning voice) "Well, first of all it's not British Pounds anymore, now it's Euro Dollars"
Ask: "Ehh. No, it's not."
CSR: "What do you mean. It's Euro Dollars now."
Ask: "No, some of EU countries are still using their original currency."
CSR: "We use a corresponding bank so we'll have to send the check there and it'll take up to 30 days."
Ask: "That's fine."
CSR: "Why is it not Euro Dollars anyway?"
Ask: "?!? Because it's British Pounds?"
CSR: (not knowing who their bank for british pounds is, I think) "Well, you'll have to wire it in."
Ask: "How about I just put my money in another bank?"

Hopefully they'll have more clue in the Big Bank where I have my business account...

Of course the longer I wait the more USD my money is worth ...


what makes it even worse is that eurodollars aren't the same thing as euros.

at Imperial Capital Bank

Maybe the Imperial bank had their first-line support outsourced?

Jim, yes that makes it even worse. It was a very good explanation of it on your links, thanks! I really should write to their CEO or whatever and tell we are not impressed.

Arthur, no they are fortunately much too small for that (or so I hope). :-)

I can't believe that your bank would be so stupid as to not know that the Brits still use their precious (and expensive) pounds.

It looks like the dollar will never recover at these rates. I wish I was holding a GBP check. ;-)

Don't count on it. The 7th largest bank in the US, Fleet, had the head of wire transfers ask me what currency Finland used and had no clue as to where or what Finland was. Wiring money or using cheques between here and there is ludicrously difficult.

I'm starting to find out that the US is even more inuslar and ignorant over here since I have these problems fairly frequently when trying to purchase something in the US and have it shipped here, etc. At the rate the dollar is tanking though, folks may need to smarten up and familiarise themselves with the Euro.

The pound is $2 for 1 quid nowadays so you should be happy with the exchange. :)

Fleet's infamous for nonexistent customer service, especially the omnipresent long line to see a teller; I'm not surprised that that extends to SWIFTing money around.

Tried Citibank? If anyone's going to be competent, it's them. On the other hand, banks can be somewhat schizophrenic cross-border (taken to extremes by Bank of America), so they could easily suck hard in the US despite having good foreign currency accounts in ROW. On the gripping hand, it doesn't hurt to call and ask.

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This page contains a single entry by Ask Bjørn Hansen published on February 5, 2004 2:55 PM.

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