Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How close a Lesotho bank account in under 3 hours

1. Turn up at your branch at 8.30am - the quietest time according to the Bank.
2. Tell the lady at reception that you want to pay in a cheque and close your account and be directed to some seats.
3. Wait ten mins to be called forward.
4. Be told that you need to speak to a different customer service adviser.
5. Sit back down.
6. Wait five mins to be called forward.
7. Be told that you have to queue to pay in your cheque first and then go to another branch to make an international transfer of your money or withdraw it all before coming back to close the account.
8. Queue up and deposit your cheque - make sure it is cleared (as you can do with salaries).
9. Walk to a different branch a few hundred yards away.
10. Locate the counter where international transfer are made and request this service.
11. Learn that in order to make an international you need to open a special account and a letter from your employer is required for this (as was the case when the original account was opened).
12. See that the queue in this branch is very long for withdrawing money and drive to a third branch which is newly opened to see if the queue is shorter.
13. Be told that you are not a high enough class customer to use the services at this branch.
14. One hour gone - take a toilet and drink break*.
15. Drive back to original branch and join queue to withdraw money.
16. Wait for 1 hour and 10 minutes reading your Kindle* and chatting with a man who appears to be an expert in international politics, was particularly interested in David Cameron's new baby, had heard of Southampton FC, told me kindly that it is okay not to believe in God, was curious about Northern Ireland and worried about terrorism.
17. Arrive at the front of the queue and say you want to withdraw all your money except for 1 cent.
18. Be surprised when someone else comes and gets you and takes you into their office.
19. Sit there while they fill out forms, type things on a computer and ask you to sign various forms. Give them two photocopies of your passport.
20. Get taken back to the original teller.
21. Receive your bank balance (approximately) and be told that it is all done.

Time: A record breaking 2 hours and 40 minutes.

This is a fairly standard way of having to 'feel' your way through administration in Lesotho.

*Part of the Insights into the Exciting Lives of Economists series.

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