Monday, October 06, 2003

Opening a checking account. One of the first things that we attempted to do after moving into our new house in Nottingham was trying to open a checking account. We went to five banks with our passports, original copy of our lease, paperwork from my employer saying that I am employee and 800 pounds of cash in hand. You think that would be enough? The short answer is NO. Abby Bank said we would have to be residents of Britain for a year. The lady Lloyds was a bit frosty and said they would not take us. HSBC and Halifax said they needed extra paperwork.

Jane at Natwest sat down with us to explain and apologize for the complexity and insanity of the British banking regulations. So guess who got our checking account with great customer service? Natwest Bank. It seems the British law states that our bank in America has to send through the regular mail, not email or fax, a letter stating that we are good customers with no debt and of high character. This makes sure that we are not drug dealers laundering money. They had to verify our accounts in the US and this took two weeks and a few more meetings. It moved quickly because our bank in the states Fedex’ed all the paperwork. The manager at the Natwest now greets me as Mister and asks me if I would want a cup of tea or coffee. Now that is service!

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